Dashing Over Bitcoin, Why Dash Gained 40% In Value, Fernando Gutierrez Explains

Original post on CryptoCoin.News

Last week the cancellation of the Hard Fork in Bitcoin had the markets jumping and in particular the altcoins gained a lot of ground (60% in some cases) before things levelled off. Dash was one of the alt coins to be so positively affected and while it jumped all over the place it settled back to a comfortable gain of a net 40% to lie at the $430 mark. Given its gain in value since the start of the month this might be argued to be a function of more than just the cancellation of the SegWit2x or at least the head of legal at Dash, Fernando Gutierrez would argue as such.

Based in Spain, Gutierrez has been involved with Dash for three years. The first non-developer to be appointed to the board, Gutierrez is genuinely cryto-curious, a specialisation from general curiosity before.

‘My wife is relieved,’ laughs Gutierrez. ‘Previously my curiosity led me to online learning constantly. I was doing all-nighters taking online courses on everything from sociology to physics. Now I am just concentrating on cryptocurrency.’

Gutierrez is self-deprecating as he is also a fully-qualified lawyer, economist and owner of a number of successful business across gaming, video and health service – a true renaissance man.

Gutierrez argues that while the hard fork naturally impacting the markets, the surge in price for Dash was inexorable. ‘The same weekend we begun trading on Asian exchanges which pushed our price,’ he says on the phone from Spain. ‘And coupled with the release of new software, Version 12.2, we had a lot of good things to talk about, not least the fact that the very schism that divided Bitcoin was being addressed by our upgrades; notably the extension of the size of our Block to 2Mg. It was a natural flight to our coin.’

The argument of Dash being a safe haven must be tempered by its somewhat unruly past and in particular it’s first launch day where 2 million coins were mined creating a dubious instamine. The founder claims that the community did not wish to see a relaunch and mining has continued at a more sedate pace where on average 3k coins are mined daily. Despite this start, Dash has set up to tackle the payments industry and operates a number of separate technologies which separates and arguably improves on the core Bitcoin structure.

Most notable is the two tier structure. Miners mine new blocks and are paid a percentage (originally at 80% and now to 45%), while Masternodes are used for payments  – Private Send, InstantSend and governance of the eco system. To become a Masternode requires the holding of 1000 Dash coins, an expensive business at today’s prices, and anyone cashing in and going below that volume automatically loses their vote. Skin in the game is the rationale behind that. 10% of fees go back into Dash to pay for full time developers. This is key according to Gutierrez.

‘We can afford to pay developers and that is another reason to favour Dash over Bitcoin and other coins,’ he says.

Gutierrez feels that the cancellation of 2x signals strongly that Bitcoin is abandoning the payment model. ‘Slowed transactions and higher fees can only mean one thing – Bitcoin is going full-on for the storied value model,’ he argues. ‘They are not properly addressing the horrible user experience. The Lighting Network is being touted as a solution but that is not in place as yet.  In the short term, Bitcoin cannot compete in its current form as a payments carrier.’

The crisis of the size of the Bitcoin blockchain has ironically already been addressed by Dash – it has already increased its blocksize to that of 2Mgs and promised faster, cheaper transactions as a result.

Gutierrez is pretty confident about the future of Dash. V 12.2 has brought a lot of new features to the market – ‘We don’t do fake news,’ he says, ‘we only announce when we have features locked down,’ – and Evolution is planned for mid 2018.

‘We are very excited about Evolution,’ he says. ‘We have a number of key features that are going to make Dash very engaging – DAPI and DashDrive in particular. DAPI or Distributed APIs mean we can connect randomly to any cluster of servers. This will increase speed and security. While DashDrive means we can simplify the process of payments, work outside the blockchain and swap in usernames for long private keys. Having a username on the DashDrive means we can also offer password recovery.

‘And we are launching a HD Wallet on DashDrive making it easier again,’ says Gutierrez. ‘We know that the average Dash or alt coin holder is not a deep techie. They don’t want to be bothered by security and keys and keeping everything up to date. They want to use their digital wallet in much the same way as their physical one. We are building that on user experience to simplify, speed up and lower the costs of using Dash.’

All up Gutierrez’s argument that Dash’s appreciation of value is less to do with the cancellation of the hard fork and more to do with their concerted development seems to hold water. ‘We can’t ignore Bitcoin, when it rallies, alt coins surge in its slipstream,’ he says. ‘But we are doing things for ourselves. We are building value for ourselves as well and we’re not just piggy-backing on a trend.’

Hashgraph – can it give Blockchain a run for its money?

Ken Anderson, admin of the official Hashgraph Telegram Dev Group as well as CTO for Irish ICO Mingo, believes that Hashgraph has the potential to either eliminate or upgrade the many issues facing the Blockchain.

‘It makes sense that the next step is not another public Blockchain, but a new distributed ledger technology,’ he says. ‘Development is all about improving technology, not getting a piggy back just for the sake of it.’

Maybe it is his background as an ex-Military Intelligence Specialist in the US Army that makes Anderson somewhat fearless when it comes to evaluating new technology. ‘I’m committed to vetting Hashgraph,’ he says.

Anderson and his developers in Mingo have been given permission to go inside the technology but it will be several months before he will commit to his final verdict on the new distributed ledger.

So what is Hashgraph and why might it have the potential to overthrow Blockchain?  Firstly, it should be noted that the Hashgraph platform, which is a distributed ledger developed by Swirlds, is currently a private ledger, does not have an ICO planned nor does it have a cryptocurrency.

It does however, take some pretty big swipes at the problematic issues facing Blockchain.

‘If you asked me to say why Hashgraph is looking so good, I’d have to say it is because it addresses issues such as speed, size and fairness before we even look at the core elements of Hashgraph which is also provable, Byzantine, ACID compliant, efficient, inexpensive, timestamped, DoS resistant, and optionally non-permissioned,’ says Anderson.

Hashgraph claims it is much faster than Bitcoin. Bitcoin can only handle 7 transactions per second compared with Visa which can handle 100,000 transactions. Theoretically Hashgraph can handle 250,000 in the same time and maybe more if the bandwidth is sufficiently wide. Bandwidth is the defining factor unlike Blockchain which needs to increase its size to increase transactions which only adds complexity.

Then there is the issue of Proof of Work (POW) in Blockchain. Originally conceived as a consensual and fair way of allocating rewards to miners there are difficulties.  In Bitcoin, miners can control the order of transactions – often on arbitrary terms. Given that Bitcoin can never 100% guarantee confirm a transaction, despite the more blocks moving towards consensus, this creates an inherent, albeit random, bias in the system. It also one of the main reasons mining is so expensive.

Hashgraph on the other hand operates a consensus time stamp approach which means no miner can sideline another and all blocks are accepted in the chain, purely on a timed basis.

In Hashgraph once an event happens everyone on the network knows this. In addition, since there is full disclosure on the network then old blocks can be consigned to history and discarded if wanted. This shrinks the amount of storage from Bitcoin’s current 60GB to a fraction of a single gigabyte. That would even fit on a typical smartphone.

Much of the problems in Blockchain development and future direction also lies in the difficulty by which consensus is achieved – it is not a given but only a growing probability which can lend itself to hard forks and slow reactions to changes.

Hashgraph on the other hand uses the Byzantine fault tolerant protocol. This means no one individual can stop a decision, nor can a decision be reversed by an individual. To maintain this progress Hashgraph also uses Gossip about Gossip protocol. This protocol is well known in the programming community where nodes exchange information to every other node randomly, no one is left hanging and every bit of information – or gossip – is shared on the chain.  Therefore how each node will vote is known in the chain as well as what each node knows and when it got that information is time stamped. If there is an affair in the village then everyone knows about it. This is one village not to plan adultery if you want to stay married.

Currently Hashgraph is a private distributed ledger so it will take people like Anderson to evaluate its claims. If they are right – and it is faster, safer, fairer, cheaper and better as claimed – then it looks likely Hashgraph will give Blockchain a run for its money.

RIP – Simon Fitzmaurice – filmmaker, writer, dad

 

 

Yesterday writer and film director Simon Fitzmaurice died. He had motor neuron disease and despite all the odds he went on to father twins, write a a book and direct his original screen play – My Name is Emily.

I did not know him, but I had a part in his film. A naked part – where I and 99 other people ran screaming into the Irish sea on a damp Tuesday afternoon at the end of summer in 2014.

I went to the premier of the film the following year in Galway and my naked posterior was still there for all to view.

He was an amazing man – married to an equally amazing woman, Ruth.

RIP Simon and prayers for his young family.

Workplace Bullying – what can you do?

 

 

 

 

Awareness of workplace bullying is much higher although proving it legally is still a very tough process. According to the Supreme Court the definition of bullying is repeated behaviour that ‘must be outrageous, unacceptable, and exceeding all bounds tolerated by decent society.’ Often employees may endure treatment that is annoying, upsetting and perceived to be personal but according to Justice Peter Charlton the test for bullying must of necessity be set very high.

So while the legal route may be fraught with difficulty, research points to the ongoing negative impacts of bullying in the workplace. The ERSI report on ‘Bullying in the Workplace’ from 2007 highlighted some very interesting statistics including that women were more likely to suffer bullying than their male counterparts, in fact the risk was almost double with 10.7% of women more at risk than 5.8% of men.

60% of the 3,500 respondents interviewed considered quitting their jobs as a result, while 15% actually did leave. Not surprisingly 20% said they had taken sick leave directly as a result of the bullying, with a further 48% saying the bullying had a detrimental impact on the lives outside of work.

Where bullying does exist – in the definition of repeated, unacceptable behaviour – the negative impact on the individual can be severe. The difficulty can be compounded as bullying by its nature tends to be directed at an individual rather than a group. This can lead fellow workers to being conflicted in their support of the individual or in the criticism of the bully, especially as the bully is normally in a position of power.

Other workers may sympathise with the victim but may not want to get involved, would prefer to keep their head down or just do not want to be on the receiving end of the same treatment.

I recently had occasion to visit my GP relating to work related stress and sickness. He diagnosed my condition immediately and was able to provide me with a certificate stating my illness due to stress. I pointed out that I was still able to work but was not well as the result of what I personally termed workplace bullying. My GP agreed with my determination but gave me very good advice.

He first of all advised me to collect my medals as he termed it. Reach out to fellow workers and colleagues with whom I had a good relationship and secure their recommendations formally or informally. Then his next piece of advice was very sound. People, good people, will not fight your battles he told me. They just won’t. And you can’t expect them to, regardless of the rights or wrongs of situation. He let that advice sink in and it resonated with me. Actually, in some ways it reminded me of my divorce. It doesn’t matter about the details people will not get involved and with good reason for the most part. It is the same with workplace relationships.

I then sought advice from a solicitor on this topic. I presented my evidence and she was also in agreement as to the levels of behaviour. As I was not an employee, I could not resort to constructive dismissal. The legal route was to pursue a personal injury claim. Of course, claims through the courts are difficult, expensive and as was pointed out at the start, near on impossible to prove.

I also did not want to argue that I had been damaged – irreparably as to the claim. I was frustrated, I was angry and I wanted to stop the behaviour – not to pursue monies and not to say I was injured. It would have felt like claiming whip lash after a nasty prang in my car. The experience might have been painful but I was not scarred for life. I had learnt lessons but I was not going to be wearing a neck collar for the next six months.

Another visit to a mediation expert presented an alternative way. Louisa Meehan of Woodview HRM was very focused on her advice. ‘Protect yourself,’ was her first and last word on the subject. Harking back to the ERSI survey her advice made good sense. When bad work experiences seep into every life, then it is time to make a decision.

‘Sometimes, if the conflict is pronounced and with a senior executive, my advice is to bail,’ she says. ‘Tackling bullying head-on can be a very lengthy and difficult process, and your energies might be better placed looking for alternative employment.’
Of course not all cases are hopeless. Meehan advocates mediation as a much more effective route than legal and much more cost effective as well. According to the Mediation Institute of Ireland, more than 80% of cases involving mediation go on to be successful concluded.

‘Mediation is all about finding the best possible solution for both parties,’ says Meehan. ‘Its role is not to make the sparring individuals best buddies nor is it to punish one or reward another. It is to look at the working relationship and see where it had broken down. Often, the perceived behaviour of one can be quite different from another perspective. We work with both parties’ world views and then construct a bridge. It can be as simple as that.’

In my own case the cause of discomfort was removed when my services were no longer required. On one hand, I no longer faced the repeated behaviour that I personally viewed as bullying. On the other, I was not able to push through an investigation that would have evaluated the situation and proven one way or another if the bullying was there. As with all these disagreements there is scope for losing as well. However, that truth is denied me now which is almost as galling as the behaviour in the first place. Now where did I put that neck collar…?

William Crozier – fantastic new exhibition in IMMA (Ireland)

Last night I attended the opening night of the exhibition of William Crozier in IMMA, Dublin Ireland.

There was a lecture first with the curator Sean Kinsella – who gave a fascinating account of Crozier’s life and influences from post war, the cold war, Irish and UK landscapes, existentialism, and finally how he painted with ordinary paints – from his local hardware store.

I met a new friend and artist Mary Cooke

and we viewed the images together – and I even got a selfie with Crozier’s selfie

Well worth a visit – website

And here is a short video 

Selfie with Crozier Selfie

Thinking Men’s Erotica

Men’s Erotica

It is a thing you know. I found out by accident. As PRO for a top football club in Ireland I met a lot of new faces and lots of new sporting (male) journalists. A number were intrigued by a woman holding such a position. They checked out my history and discovered amongst other things that I have written a trilogy of erotica — not just any old erotica — but as it turns out, Thinking Men’s Erotica. It is sassy, fast paced modern writing; comic in parts, interesting in parts. It is a modern essay on post Celtic Tiger Ireland but with sex, lots of it. That is the bit that surprises men. They don’t expect to get wood from reading. At least not without any pictures on the side. So there you have it — Men like to read for Pleasure.

Watch the video HERE 

Humans of Dublin

“I exited bankruptcy in July 2016 and was questioned on RTE news about what would now change. ‘Nothing’ I said and it was true at the time. If anything I was in a harder place than when the banks repossessed my home and my business collapsed six years ago. I was heart-broken and good for nothing. I wrote an article about homelessness in the Irish Times and the next day a friend offered me a cottage to rent. One year later it feels like home. My tiny cottage sits snugly in the hills overlooking the pretty village of Shillelagh. I have work in PR and as a freelance journalist. I pay my bills. I even go out to dinner on occasion. I have never been happier. My children live nearby and they are amazing young women. I get up each morning with gratitude in my heart. I have put the survival mode behind me and I am shining now. Every human being deserves to shine and this time is mine.”

LINK

My Little Pony

 

Gianni Matera is a man who knows what he wants – three or four ponies would suit him very nicely thank you. Only he is not speaking of our four legged friends but of startups valued at between $10million and $100million. The term ‘pony’ was coined by US money man Dave McClure of 500startups fame back in 2015. Ponies grow up to be Centaurs, valued between $100million and $1billion and then a lucky few make it to the Unicorn stage of $1billion plus.

Matera, an Italian entrepreneur successfully sold his last company, DigiTouch, in 2007 for €44million and decided to look for a life and career outside of Italy. He chose Ireland as his new home because of the ease with which he fitted into Irish society, the support of Enterprise Ireland (EI) and the close business connections to the US.

 

For the past two years he has operated as a Super Angel Investor in Ireland through his fund Growing Capital. He has invested a total of €4.8 million in 14 startups of which €2.2 million came from his own personal wealth; €1.5 million came from EI (HPSU Fund) and the remaining €1.1 million from the European Angel Fund.

Actually Matera is EI’s biggest fan.  He points to its very successful engagement, especially at seed and pre-seed level. Reports demonstrate that EI on average does 100 deals per annum in seed funding. This compares very favourably with a cumulative total for the whole of Europe for similar deals resting around the 1000 to 1500 mark

Matera chose Ireland also because he could see better value than in the neighbouring UK. ‘It’s like real estate, I could buy better property for less money here than in London for example,’ he says.

He also believes that Ireland is closer to the US than other European countries. ‘There are many connections with the US and a willingness for founders and their startups to move stateside,’ he says. ‘It’s a no brainer – by moving to the US, startups can avail of more capital, under better conditions and earlier in their journey.’

Matera has learnt a lot in the past two years:  ‘I have learnt to refine my decisions on how I invest. It is a tough road, as much for the founders as for the angel investor.’

Sleepless nights and a war zone are words that he uses to describe his journey. He was motivated to want to give back some of his success but he is now content to wait out the exit rewards that should come to him hopefully in the next three to five years. ‘From around 2020 to 2022 I shall know if I have been successful,’ he says. ‘Just getting my money back would be a failure, doubling my investment is okay but in reality a return of between seven and 10 million euro would make me very happy.’

Part of his journey has been to shift the percentages of investment. ‘When I first began I invested 50-50 with EI,’ says Matera. ‘However for the second tranche of my investments I linked up with a new initiative called the European Angels Fund (EAF). That allowed me to bring in another pot of money reducing my input down to a more manageable quarter.’

EAF is an initiative advised by the European Investment Fund (EIF) which provides equity to Business Angels and other non-institutional investors for the financing of innovative companies in the form of co-investments.

The EAF conducted vigorous due diligence on Matera personally. After that, they took his advice on the target startups without having to evaluate his choices.

‘I learnt to be ruthless too,’ says Matera. ‘There is a culture in the US that only allows one round of investment at each stage. They call companies that fail to make the next level the walking dead and faced with that stagnation it’s a simple up-and-out for investors.’

In Ireland, this ruthlessness is less evident. Startups can return to the well for increments to get them up to the next level. This is fostered in part by various tax schemes which allow family and friends to lend money and avail of serious tax respites.

‘This abundance is good for entrepreneurs who are looking at lifestyle choices especially if they are working in industries that tend to scale slowly such as food, makeup or fashion,’ he says. ‘However, when I hear a pitch that stresses the positive social impact or employment then I am out the door. For an Angel Investor the best number of employees is zero on a scalable business.’

There are a number of key attributes that he looks for in his founders and their startups. First he demands the startup must already be viable and showing a minimum of €5,000 per month in revenue.

‘I want to identify a founder who has already seen a problem, has found a solution to it and also has customers paying for it.’

The business has to be scalable quickly, preferably within 18 months to target revenues of €50,000 per month making it Series A investment-ready.

‘My founders must have a clear vision on how to make money,’ says Matera. ‘I have no use for dreamers. I want to see the spread sheet already populated.’

Matera also favours founders with good social capital. ‘If you are on Linkedin with five friends then forget it.’

Balance is another important feature. ‘A founder must be visionary but also coachable. He must be optimistic, a risk taker and be able to manage ambiguity,’ he says.

With regard to his role with his startups Matera does not believe in being on the board. ‘So I sit on the board and meet twice a year, what good is that? If I can make changes by doing just that then there is something wrong in the leadership and strategy of the company. ‘

Matera has stopped investing now. The companies that survive and grow will need future funding. He may dilute his equity or part-invest on a case by case basis.

‘The common advice is to invest 10% of your net worth and then stop,’ he says. ‘I have gone a bit above that so I am not looking at any more new startups.’

Matera is relieved the two years are up. ‘It was a steep learning curve and a number of my investments have failed already and that is difficult as it is my own money.’

‘Actually,’ he corrects himself, ‘it is not my money but my daughter’s inheritance and I have spent enough already.’

While Matera is stepping back from investing his next roles are to be cofounder to a number of businesses. There are three currently ranging from financial services, energy efficiency and trading. He found these businesses in his investor search and in each case felt he would offer better value as a co-founder rather than a money man.

‘Up to a point, I enjoyed my two year odyssey,’ he says. ‘I met a lot of interesting people and viewed many fascinating ideas. I am happy with my decision to pursue this route but you’ll have to wait until 2022 before I will tell you just how happy I am.’

An Open Letter to Bray Wanderers FC

Dear Management of Bray Wanderers,

I write to you today with genuine sadness, some bewilderment and above all deep embarrassment at your recent statements, press releases and actions.

The final straw was discovering that I had been personally blocked from the official Bray Wanderers Twitter Account. That action has directly forced me into responding publicly today.

Let me explain firstly who I am. I was taken on last year, in August 2016, as media liaisons officer for the club. Three years ago I had met with a Bray club think-tank headed up by prior chairman Philip Hannigan, and had submitted a proposal as a public relations consultant. Nothing came of that and so I was surprised to be approached last summer by the then chairman Denis O’Connor. We had many talks over the following weeks and finally I submitted a detailed brief of work and my services were retained.

It was a steep learning curve. I was unfamiliar with the world of soccer in general and of League of Ireland in particular.  However, I found myself falling head over heels in love with the club. I became a defacto Seagulls Supporter. I met fans, old and new. I worked with sponsors. I grew to know and respect the sports media. I worked with the nominated charities to promote them. I laughed and joked with the hard working and good natured stewards on match day. I found great friendship with the grounds man and general factotum, the mascot and his children, the DJ, the tea ladies, the head of security, the FAS workers, volunteers and most people attached to the club. I met with the previous chairmen to learn from their experiences. I also discovered the gentleman that is Harry Kenny – as well as his brothers who were active in both running the U19s and supporting the club. And I really, really enjoyed meeting and interviewing the players who were polite and mannerly to a fault with all my requests.

However, some four months ago the then chairman and I had a major disagreement. I stuck to my guns – it was on a point of principle, humanity and also corporate sensitivity. As a result he swore never to speak with me again, an order repeated in person the following week by his brother, the general manager.  Accordingly I worked closely with the wonderful, unsung hero Mick Duffy to continue my work which included producing weekly media briefings, weekly digital newsletters, ongoing media relations and match day programmes. It was a strange time but I persevered.

More recently in June I attended official FAI training along with the other media officers from the Premier Division. I learnt vast amounts and enjoyed meeting my fellow media officers. As the workshop emphasised – we may all be competitors on the field but we can cooperate and help each other off the field.

Then the week of the Dundalk match (June 30th) I received communications from the chairman again, after a three month period of silence. I was asked to report back from the FAI workshop and there followed a barrage of nearly 20 emails in less than 24 hours badgering me as to what I personally was going to do about the gate. These aggressive emails were copied to all management in the club. I replied (repeatedly) that my role was media relations and not commercial, however I said that I would research the matter further.

Moreover, the final order from the chairman in this upsetting email chain was that I was not on any account to go near the press box at the Dundalk match on Friday night nor was I to speak with any member of the press.

I confess I did not follow that order. Every home match I meet with a local journalist in a personal capacity and assist him by carrying his laptop to the press box. I did this at the Dundalk match as normal. However, seconds after my returning to my usual match viewing position outside the club shop I was accosted by the general manager. In front of witnesses he shouted at me, inches from my face, that on no account was I to visit the press box again as ‘things were happening’, ‘things that were nothing to do with me.’  The following week my services were no longer required.

We all know the ‘things’ that happened afterwards. The half time press release, the recorded RTE interview, the players being told to go, the players being told they could not go, the investment promised, the investment not appearing, the FAI not getting involved, the PFAI getting involved, the players attempting to be available for transfer and the resignation of the chairman.

Then the two last press releases were issued that captured the attention of not only League of Ireland fans, but people across the country and indeed has garnered interest on an international scale – and not in a good way.

Although I must say there was some very fine humour on social media as a result, overall the response was one of astonishment, ridicule, hurt and upset.

The reason therefore for my writing this open letter was fostered in my treatment up to my being let go and my subsequent blocking from Bray on social media. I understand, although this has not been officially communicated to me, that complaints have also been made to the FAI about my sharing the subsequent social media. #WeAreNorthKorea

The reason for my writing this letter is that, as a PR professional retained by the club, had I been allowed to do my job, this painful month of communications would not have got past the thought stage.  We would not have become the laughing stock of the League of Ireland and beyond.

The reason for writing this letter is for the many fans who have been let down.

The reason for writing this letter is for Harry, his management team and the players.  They had no choice in the content of the press releases. They had no part in the games being played off the field. They had no choice even in being able to confirm that their jobs were safe. How could they play football in such horrible conditions?

The reason for writing this letter is to express the opinion that just because the management of Bray Wanderers could release such statements, does not mean that they should.

Without social media these ridiculous and rambling notions would not have seen the light of day. No journalist worth his or her salt would have reprinted them in their news outlet. Without social media, this would not have happened.

Just because Donald Trump chooses to tweet fake news and incendiary comments via Twitter does not mean League of Ireland clubs should follow suit.

Where is the dignity? Where is the respect for the Fans? Where is the respect for the Manager? Where is the respect for the Players?

For the love of League of Ireland would such statements be abolished and forbidden in future club communication or clubs risk having their licences revoked for untrustworthy, hate-speak and irresponsible communications.

All clubs should sign up to publish only truthful and accurate reporting. We should not condone ‘trash talk’ in the League. In fact, we should not tolerate what looks like the drunken rants of an unhinged and vindictive person or persons unknown.

We can all learn from mistakes. Let the lessons learnt from this catalogue of fiascos be that clubs should not have the right to publish anything they want. Let there be a code of ethics, a filter if you will, on what clubs may report on.

Today, the target has been the fans, the local councillors, the general naysayers. Tomorrow the target may be minorities, the vulnerable and even individuals. Cyber bullying is well documented. This should not be condoned in the League of Ireland.

I ask Bray Management to desist from any further intemperate, crazed and hate-filled rhetoric

I call upon the FAI to enshrine in its licence a code of ethics on club communication – with appropriate sanctions when clubs step out of line.

Yours Sincerely

A Seagulls Fan

Jillian Godsil

Please find enclosed my detailed job description. It was unfortunate I was not allowed to fulfil the final skill set. The irony is not lost on me.

Roles:

  1. Media Liaison Officer

Point of contact for key media relations in particular East Coast FM and local papers. Meetings with local media to confirm content and frequency of updates. Ensuring content is provided on a timely basis such as schedules, changes to same, regular radio appearances, news and other information. Contact with wider media as a backup to current Club contacts.

  1. Content Generator

Content and news generator for all non-mainstream sports updates. Content includes player news, family days, mascot updates and any activities. Generation of content to final signoff from the club. Provision of photography where appropriate also.

  1. Community Liaison PR Officer

Linking with Community to provide promotion of local events, including activities such as Halloween, family days and other local promotions.

  1. Team Promotion

Working with key players / management to build awareness of players and their personalities. Developing content for use in the programme, on the Facebook, website and with the media.

  1. Schools Programme PR

Working with Dermot and the schools’ programme to ensure promotion of educational activities.

  1. Newsletter

Once lists are managed and divided then I can set up newsletters for the different stakeholders. Currently these are season ticket holders, general fans and junior supporters. Once we look at the different target audiences we can decide if the newsletters need to be separate or can be combined – either way content can be shared across audiences.

  1. Crisis Management

Advice on managing difficult or tricky situations – providing clean media statements where required and handling media resolutions

 

ends

 

First Bonded Whiskey warehouse on Clare Farm

The lost art of whiskey bonding has been restored to Ireland once again after being neglected for almost a century.  Clare-born Louise McGuane returned to the family farm after an international career in the drinks industry to set up a new bonded whiskey warehouse on the farm, on a site nestled between the Shannon Estuary and the Atlantic. This unique micro climate will be used to create a very special flavour of whiskey – the first bottles of which will be available in five years’ time.

Louise has come full circle. She remembers growing up when the local creamery was still operational. ‘We bought the bulk milk tank down to the creamery using the tractor very day. I even remember the pails before that,’ she says. ‘Naturally, those are in the past but the community has retained its rural bearing.’

Now she is reviving another ancient tradition of bonding that had all but died out in Ireland. ‘Back in the last century many local grocers or pubs would also be bonded agents and blend or mature their own brands of whiskey. They bought the plain spirit off a main distiller and then matured it in casks for a number of years before blending their own whiskey.

‘Most local communities had their own whiskeys – all with their own unique flavour,’ she says.

Each whiskey derives the majority of its flavour, some 80%, from the cask or container in which it matures and in the local climate where it resides.

Back in 1930s Ireland, the main distillers began creating brands – such as Jamieson and Powers – and were reluctant to release whiskey to local blenders and so the local versions died out.

Louise has also bought in limited number of litres of aged whiskeys and employs a Master Blender. She will use these matured whiskeys to have her first ‘pilot’ whiskeys ready in September. ‘This is to create a path to market,’ she explains.

It will take at least five years to produce her own whiskey and she needs an active sales channel once the product is ready.

‘Of course, we don’t really know what it will taste like,’ she says. ‘But we do know it will be unique. Our coastal micro climate will influence the flavour, plus we have built a traditional warehouse leaving mud as the foundation. This will both moderate the temperature and humidity as well as ensure no other whiskey will taste the same.’

Louise’s inspiration comes from local Kilrush grocery and bonded whiskey maker JJ Corry. ‘We discovered that he matured his own whiskey locally and sold it in the community. He died in 1930 and I have visited his grave. I also discovered his shop was dismantled and removed to Bunratty Castle where it is now a tourist feature.

‘There was a lot of paperwork remaining in his shop, details about his whiskeys and their names, and so I decided to reclaim his brands. I trademarked them and now we are in production,’ she says. ‘It is wonderful to not only rejuvenate an old tradition but also to rejuvenate his original brands.’

Louise is very happy to be home and on a mission. In the twenty odd years she was away she worked at the top of her profession in sales and marketing for some of the biggest luxury names in drinks. She worked in the US, the UK and Paris France. Her contacts and experience are invaluable. While away, she and her husband saved up to renovate her grandmother’s house on the farm. Initially it was intended to be a holiday home but she realised in recent years that her career would keep her an international nomad and she wanted to come home.

‘There is something very satisfying to return home to a project like this,’ says Louise. ‘I looked at a number of possible projects but this one felt right. The barn, which currently holds 24,000 litres of maturing whiskey, looks as though it has always been there. That continuity is important to me.’

Louise initially crowdfunded to finance the proof of concept raising €45,000 through KickStarter. ‘That came mostly from the US and was without the sniff of a whiskey product. I knew we were onto a winner at that stage.’

She is currently working with a number of private investors and may turn to the EIIS tax relief scheme. Right now her project is eating money as the whiskey quietly matures on the farm. Down the line, Louise has plans to integrate tourism into her project, handling small tour groups before moving them off to the local pub for food and refreshment. In time too she is looking at parenting with a local brewing company.

‘I love being home on the farm,’ says Louise. ‘My parents are still going strong, farming beef and diary, and I love being part of the lifestyle and community.  While our first blends will be available in less than six months we will spend the next five years watching our whiskey, opening the casks and checking on the maturation process, helping it where needed and finally creating our final taste. It is a long, gentle process but I am excited already about the final product.’

Louise will have to patient. Her whiskey will mature all in its own good time, and not a moment sooner, surrounded by her parent’s inquisitive dairy herd and the every present flocks of seagulls.

First printed in Farm Ireland July 2, 2017