The Business Bulletin - Issue 206 - 1st July 2013
A Note from the Next Door Neighbours (82)
June 2013
A Cross-Border Gun for Hire

So, after nearly 14 years, it is time to say farewell to the Centre for Cross Border Studies – although not to this blog, which is migrating to a new site (see below).

We have done some good things in our small centre in Armagh during that time, and I must pay tribute to my colleagues for their huge support and extremely hard work: incoming director Ruth Taillon, particularly for her superb work on impact assessment; deputy director Mairead Hughes, a brilliant financial manager, who has been my most valued colleague since the day we opened in September 1999; Patricia McAllister, as conscientious and efficient a personal assistant as exists on this island; Annmarie O'Kane, who has done wonders with the Border People cross-border information service; Eimear Donnelly and CarolAnne Murphy for their impressive organisational and ICT skills; and our good friends John Driscoll and Caroline Creamer, director and deputy director of CCBS's 'sister' organisation, the International Centre for Local and Regional Development. Successive chairs and vice-chairs – Chris Gibson, one of the North's leading businessmen, Helen Johnston of the National Economic and Social Council, and Pauric Travers of St Patrick's College Drumcondra – along with the CCBS board have always been there for us when we needed them.

The Centre's contribution to 'Strand Two' of the Northern Irish peace process has been welcomed by leaders from a wide range of backgrounds.

The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, has called us an 'important entity, doing important work' and the Tánaiste, Eamon Gilmore holds that work 'in very high regard.' Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin has called us 'a courageous and pioneering initiative.' The Republic's most senior civil servant, Martin Fraser, says the Centre's publications are 'fundamental to understanding how cross-border cooperation works on the island of Ireland.' Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has talked about the Centre 'leading the North-South inter-connection process.'

For the unionists, DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson has warmly and publicly thanked the Centre for its work. Abroad, one of the EU's top experts on cross-border cooperation, Joachim Beck of the Euro-Institut in Germany, has called the Centre's impact assessment toolkit 'a top project with a top partner – it would be hard to find a better one in Europe.'

Yet it is disappointing that we have become to a certain extent prophets with not very much honour in our own country. The lack of interest by the island's third level institutions in the subject of cross-border cooperation as part of the Northern Irish peace process never ceases to baffle me. In the past 18 months I have spoken to academic and policy audiences on this fascinating topic from Norway to Israel, Austria to France, England to Belgium. But I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of such audiences I have been invited to address in Ireland over the past 14 years.

The media are another element who are almost totally uninterested in what we do. If I had not been a former senior journalist with The Irish Times (and a dab hand at putting out press releases, harassing newsdesks and writing letters to the editor), I doubt whether the Centre's work would have raised more than a line or two in the press and on radio on this island. I have, for example, been trying in vain for a decade to interest education correspondents in the unique Irish success story that is the Standing Conference on Teacher Education North and South (SCoTENS), described by the Professor of Education at Oxford University, John Furlong, as 'an incredible achievement'.

None of this would matter if North-South cooperation remained high on the agenda of the responsible governments. But it doesn't. I have to say that in recent months in particular it has seemed to me to be lower than ever. With the Northern system wrapped up in its interminable and risk-averse processes (and the G8) and the Southern system totally distracted by its presidency of the EU, necessary 'North-Southery' has almost disappeared off the map. The less pragmatic wing of unionism must be delighted.

All this is worrying. Without the active interest and involvement of both the British and Irish governments, the two main parties in Northern Ireland will go back into the tribal silos where they feel most comfortable, the world will forget about this insignificant and awkward province, and in another generation the malign cycle of sectarianism and violence which has been the pattern here for the past 160 years and more will be in danger of raising its ugly head again. And that active involvement can still pay off. Witness Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness's recent package of measures aimed at a more shared society, which appeared to cynics to be a product of pressure from London along the lines of 'share more and get more money from us' (and we'll announce it before the G8 comes to Fermanagh!).

Maybe this will change for the better in the autumn. I will be more an observer than a participant then (although I will continue to manage the Centre's 'Towards a Border Development Zone' project).

I plan to start writing a book about North-South cooperation and the Northern Ireland peace process, and to put up the occasional blog on my new site, (if any of the readers of A Note from the Next Door Neighbours would like to subscribe to this, perhaps you could let me know on

I'm also available to do anything that will further the noble cause of cross-border cooperation for peace, reconciliation and mutual benefit in Ireland (occasionally for a small charge). I will be, in short, a cross-border gun for hire.

Andy Pollak

A Note from the Next Door Neighbours' is sent to everyone on the Centre for Cross Border Studies e-mail list on a monthly basis. If you have friends or colleagues who would like to be added to the mailing list for 'A Note from the Next Door Neighbours', please send their details to or call +44 (0)28 3751 1550.

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Social Media: One Company’s Story

Eighteen months ago, Omagh Enterprise Company decided to embrace the digital world and develop a social media strategy. The journey has been interesting and some of the lessons learned along the way are listed below.

1 Mindset Change: Businesses often see social media as a way to advertise, whereas, people using social media see it as a way to share information and engage. Learning how to share and engage online requires a change of mindset.

Business Objectives: It may sound obvious but before you develop a social media strategy consider your business objectives, as your social media strategy will require human and financial resource investment.

Update Your Website: Your website should be simple in style, clear in message, clean in presentation, fast to load and super mobile friendly. Eight seconds is the average time people spend on a site before deciding to stay or go.

4 Social Media Platforms: The main social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn should form part of your website. Each platform has its own style and you need to include the ones relevant to your business.

5 Blog: To blog or not to blog is something you have to decide and the choice is to blog regularly or not at all. Regularly means at least once a week. Your blog should capture your own style and inform and engage the reader.

6 Video: Video is a great way to gain attention and can be done simply and at low cost. The ideal approach is to develop a short format that suits the business.

7 Podcasts: Podcasts are a good idea for a series of lectures or workshops but can be demanding. To make a podcast worthwhile, it has to stand out from a content and quality perspective.

8 Quality Content: The purpose of blogs, videos and podcasts is to create rich original content. The regular creation of such content is key to developing a successful strategy.

9 Running the Business: The realisation that implementing a social media strategy must be done while running the business on a day-to-day basis is key. So, don’t take your eye off the ball.

10 Search Engines: Search engine optimisation and data analysis can help guide and inform your strategy but won’t make up for poor quality content.

SO, 18 months later it has been an interesting journey and has taught us how to survive in the digital world but the big lesson is that it takes time, effort and resource to get it right.


What do you think? What is your social media story? Get in touch, we would love to hear your views contact Nick on 028 8224 9494 or via Twitter @nick_oec.

Behind the wheel

In the first of what the Business Bulletin hopes will be regular write-ups we review the new and used cars we drive.  You are invited to submit your own reviews to the editor using the simple format below.
Purchase price and low running costs are often the main considerations when choosing your car but there’s more to it than that.  You also want it to reflect your personality too and as business advisers / consultants you might not want to get something too flamboyant. 
In the first of what the Business Bulletin hopes will be regular write-ups we review the new and used cars we drive.  You are invited to submit your own reviews to the editor using the simple format below.  We want to hear about your current car, your previous ones and any special events around the country.  You can also pose questions to a panel of local dealers about cars, commercial vehicles and even motor-bikes.  
2013 Toyota Auris Hybrid – up to five smiles for top marks; frowns allowed too
Bill MacNeill drove this car for a week courtesy of Shelbourne Motors in Portadown - here's Bill's critique....


Try the Auris Hybrid for yourself

 There’s a fun day organised on Wednesday 24th July at Foymore Lodge, Portadown BT62 1QA, you can join in the launch of some exciting new models such as the Toyota Auris Touring Sports, RAV4, Land Cruiser and Hilux.  
Take this opportunity to be a special guest and test your driving on a 4x4 circuit and be among the first to see brand new models.
Click to enquire further and to RSVP.  Super deals also available.  New Lexus IS model will be on show too.
Ed: The comparisons shown relate to NI specifications and are in £ stg.  We would like to include views from readers in the Eurozone too.

All enquiries to

It may be sunny in Ballymoney……….  I hope you will recognise as the start of a favourite limerick.  We won’t go into the details especially the final line but the general point is we get different sorts of weather here depending as much on postcode as the time of year.
If you’re using oil for heating or cooking you’ll know that many businesses, care homes and homes have to run their oil-fired systems most of the year at some time of the day. 
As readers of the Business Bulletin we’d like you to save on oil usage where you can all year-round.  You could even see reduced smoke, soot and odours from your oil-fired stove, heating system or space-heater as well. 

Check out for more details.
For the first ten correct answers to the simple question below we will provide £50 worth of PD-5 Boiler Boost at no charge – enough to treat most household tanks . 
1 x litre of PD-5 boiler boost is used to treat the following amount of heating oil / red diesel:

a)     2000 litres
b)     4000 litres
c)      6000 litres
Email your answer, name and contact details to we will send out the prizes to the first ten correct answers before the July holidays (UK and ROI addresses only please).
Details of the product can be found on twitter and facebook under the name pdfuel and on
Follow and like / recommend us to receive details of promotions and news
Summer may be here but let’s save on heating oil and red diesel all year round with PD-5 Boiler Boost and Fuel Boost. 
At the check-out use voucher code MAC613 for exclusive discount.  Minimum purchase £10  discount code applies to first order


Rosemary gets more gongs!

Congratulations again to well known consultant and expert Rosemary Morrison who received awards again this week.

We wonder what he said to Rosemary......  all will no doubt, be revealed in due course!

P.S For further information on Rosemary's holiday gite in the Loire Valley visit

Mention the Prince’s Trust in your enquiry email to Rosemary and there could be a bottle of wine in it for you when you arrive at chez Morrison’s

Was Bill getting insider information on Royal Ascot?

We really should know!

During the course of last week, well known Chair of ICAGNI Bill MacNeill played host to some visitors to Belfast. What we want to know is what were they saying to each other.

We might risk a small prize for this as a caption competition -
send your suggestion here.

For Northern Ireland specific contracts, there are a number of sources of information specifically for contracts within Northern Ireland. The Central Procurement Directorate (CPD) handles contracts for a number of government departments. You can find a list of current tender opportunities on the CPD website. Again, there is no email alert facility that we can find which makes the content difficult to adapt to the Bulletin format.
Please see for the current list of Northern Ireland opportunities.

Measurement of Women and Girls Sport Behaviour and Attitude Change in Bury
GB-Portsmouth: Enabling Contract to cover breakdown call out service for the repair of Air Conditioning, Chilled Water Plants and Refrigeration Units in HMS SULTAN
GB-Southend: Sexual Health Promotion and Community HIV Prevention Service
MurraysÂ’ Mills Ground Investigation
GB-Stevenage: Framework Opportunity for Provision of Individual Tuition
Recruitment Services For Green Investment Bank
Provision of Funeral Services
Ligature Works at Buckrose Ward, Bridlington
British Embassy, Asuncion, Paraguay, New Embassy Offices
GB-Woolwich: Management & Development of Hervy Road Playing Field as Sports and Disability Sports Venue
Supply of Tray Wrap to the Sterile Services Department, Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
SB216 Support Provision under the Mutuals Support Programme - Community Equipment Loan and Warden Call/Telecare Services City of York Council
GB-Stevenage: A Data Collection And Analysis Service Of Children Looked After School Attendance
Quantitative Assessment of Migrant Access to the NHS
GB-Stevenage: Care at Home - Framework
Management and Provision of School Catering Services
GB-TELFORD: LSBU7/0130 - The Supply of Thermo Hygrometer Kit & Temperature Humidity Probes
Works contract for replacement of electrical wiring to conference centre
Footfall survey at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust QMC campus
UK-Oxford: Telecommunications services
GB-Stevenage: A Data Collection And Analysis Service Of Children Looked After School Attendance
UK-Yeovil: Microcomputer operating system software development services
Quantitative Assessment of Migrant Access to the NHS
UK-Enfield: IT services: consulting, software development, Internet and support
UK-London: Data supply services
UK-Belfast: Information technology services
UK-Southampton: Mapping software development services
UK-Ipswich: Maintenance of information technology equipment
UK-Dumfries: Hospital facilities construction work
UK-London: Information technology services
UK-Birmingham: Industry specific software package
Design and Project Management Services
UK-Halesowen: Software package and information systems
Pathways Website Project Co-ordinator
UK-Cardiff: System maintenance services
UK-Perth: Data services
UK-Coventry: Business development consultancy services
UK-Dover: Enterprise resource planning software package
Roof Replacement on a Small Commercial Property in Shoreham, West Sussex
MurraysÂ’ Mills Ground Investigation
Ligature Works at Buckrose Ward, Bridlington
UK-Oxford: Telecommunications services
Works contract for replacement of electrical wiring to conference centre
UK-Bedford: Construction work
UK-Belfast: Fire-alarm system installation work
NO-Stavanger: Construction work for buildings of further education
NO-Porsgrunn: Nursing home construction work
NO-Oslo: Construction work for school buildings
NO-Oslo: Painting work
NO-Larvik: Trench-digging work
UK-Redcar: Bus shelters
UK-Shrewsbury: Modular and portable buildings
UK-Dorchester: Surface dressing
UK-Matlock: Mortar (construction)
UK-Scunthorpe: Refuse and waste related services
UK-Essex: Grounds maintenance services
NO-Langesund: Electrotechnical equipment
NO-Leikanger: Road tunnel construction work

76462 - SCMT 1 - Change Management Consultant for Limerick City and County Councils
Publication date:  27-06-2013
Response deadline:  12-07-2013 12:00   GMT
Procedure: Open Procedure (NON OJEU)
Description: Limerick City and County Councils are requesting tenders for the provision of Change Management Consultant services to assist in the amalgamation of both Councils
Buyer: Limerick County Council
76126 - - Provision of a Public Transport Operations Data Management System
Publication date:  27-06-2013
Response deadline:  08-08-2013 12:00   GMT
Procedure: Open Procedure (OJEU)
Description: The NTA wishes to develop and implement a new Data Management System (DMS) to facilitate the monitoring and regulate the performance initially of bus services operated under Public Service Contracts in Ireland. Currently these services are provided by two bus operators, namely Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann. Additional operators may be contracted to provide such bus services and the DMS shall be designed and supplied in a form that facilitates, in a simple and convenient manner, the addition of those other operators.
Buyer: National Transport Authority

76419 - - Establishment of approved panel of Executive Search Service Providers
Publication date:  26-06-2013
Response deadline:  17-07-2013 13:00   GMT
Procedure: Restricted Procedure (NON OJEU)
Buyer: Public Appointments Service

76197 - - Open Procedure for Coach Education Development & Sports Science Consultant
Publication date:  24-06-2013
Response deadline:  22-07-2013 12:00   GMT
Procedure: Open Procedure (NON OJEU)
Description: The Irish Sports Council wishes to appoint a consultant in the area of Coach Education Development & Sports Science using the open procedure. The contract will be for 1 year with the option to extend for two further 1 year extensions. Tenderers should note the maximum budget over the 1 year term is 42,000 euro ex VAT.

76258 - Food Tourism Animator - STDC and NTLP wish to secure the services of an Animator who will have responsibility to provide support and training to those working in, or interested in establishing, a business in the food to
Publication date:  22-06-2013
Response deadline:  03-07-2013 16:00   GMT
Procedure: Open Procedure (NON OJEU)
Description: STDC and NTLP wish to secure the services of an Animator who will have responsibility to provide support and training to those working in, or interested in establishing, a business in the food tourism sector in Tipperary. The Animator will develop and facilitate the delivery of a comprehensive package of capacity building supports in consultation with food tourism providers. Potential supports may include training, food network development, business development planning and animation in terms of access to capital investment, (as currently prescribed within the LEADER RDP Programme for food related businesses). The Animator will develop a Programme that will allow participants to develop new opportunities to grow and develop their business and meet the needs of the tourist market. The objective is to assist such businesses to become established and expand thereby providing employment opportunities for the local economy. An overriding objective is to develop and market the Tipperary Food Brand, so that it is immediately recognisable internationally and becomes an attraction for tourists to visit the County and experience the products behind the Brand. Occasionally, the Animator will be required to assist the relevant stakeholders in the achievement of this objective. The Animator will support existing networks in County Tipperary, assist such networks to grow and link with similar groups throughout the region. Through such networks the Animator will attempt to assist suppliers to exploit the potential of international markets, thereby increasing potential for growth in employment in the County.
Buyer: South Tipperary Development Company
Belfast City Council Tenders are available at

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