Staff at GMK Partners pictured at the Hotel Kilmore at the Budget 2024 informative evening hosted by Farnham Financial Services. Back (from left): Louise Smith, Rose O’Toole, Anne Kelly, Veronica Evans, Caroline O’Reilly, Rachel Sloane, Pamela McMahon, Phyllis Weir, Mairead Kearns and Elaine Ritchie; front, Eileen Kelly, Eileen Fitzpatrick, Kevin Gillard, Anna Smith, Gerard M. Kelly, Jackie Cunningham, Zoe Clarke and Cáit McGovern.PHOTOS: SHEILA ROONEY

Making housing a national emergency – Jim Power

The newly rebranded GMK Partners Accountants, formerly known as Kelly Rahill & Co, and its sister company, Farnham Financial Services, staged a most informative information evening on Budget Day in the Hotel Kilmore, Cavan, last Tuesday evening.

One of the guest speakers, well-known economist, Jim Power, gave his insightful take on Budget 2024 and the Irish economy today.

He expressed the opinion that building houses should be treated like the COVID-19 emergency and said the government should make housing a national emergency.

Housing, he said, is the single “big issue” from a social, political and economical point of view.

“Do whatever it takes to sort it,” insisted the leading economist.

“We should be building at least 35,000 houses per annum to cope with the rising population. Increasing housing supply ultimately has to happen,” he added.

Mr Power said that the Irish economy had performed very strongly in a post Covid environment.

“Tax revenues have been absolutely booming in recent years and the Budget that was delivered today – a 14 billion euro package is huge. That was facilitated by the buoyancy of tax revenues we have seen over the last few years and there is no better indicator of what is happening in an economy than the tax revenues that are being collected and that is a very upbeat picture at the moment.”

He noted that, while corporation tax receipts have been healthy since 2015, they are heavily reliant on the multi-national sector with just 10 companies responsible for a large chunk of that revenue.

“The risk factor here is that, if any of those companies get into difficulty, you could see a significant reversal in corporation tax receipts. Indeed, in August and September, we started seeing some weakness, reflecting stuff that it going on in the pharmaceutical and IT sectors worldwide,” said the economist.

Mr Power pointed out how consumer confidence has started to wane again. “Consumers are worried about the cost of living and rising interest rates – all issues that were to the fore in the budget package, that was delivered this afternoon,” he said.

In relation to the Budget package, Mr Power said that everyone would feel slightly better off, but nobody will feel significantly better off.

“It is a scatter gun approach to economic management – throwing as much money as possible at as many people as possible.

I would much prefer to see this money being targeted at specific areas in the economy and particularly housing. But that is the nature of politics,” he opined.

The event also featured talks from John McInerney, pensions expert with Aviva Life and Pensions, who spoke about pension reliefs and Crosserlough man, James McEvoy, from Greenman Investments, who gave an insight into alternative investment opportunities in the supermarket sector in Germany.

Gerard Kelly from GMK Partners and Farnham Financial Services gave an insight into the role of both companies, their teams and the vision for the future.

He outlined how the Kelly Rahill name had been changed to GMK Partners to reflect the inclusion of Kevin Gilliard and Jackie Cunningham as directors/shareholders.

“We have a very loyal staff, nearly all of whom are here tonight. It is exactly the same operation.

“Ann Rahill retired a number of years ago and we wanted to reflect the up-to-date position in the name,” added Mr Kelly.

He thanked the team at the Hotel Kilmore for their help and hospitality in staging the event and he fondly remembered the late owner, Ross Mealiff, who was a neighbour of Mr Kelly’s in Clones.

The various speakers at the event were introduced by Anna Smith, a director of Farnham Financial Services. She said that, while the industry faces challenges from time to time, “we always work together as a team to find innovative ways to combat these challenges and provide the best advice for our clients”.

GMK Partners are located at the Orchard Centre, Loughtee Business Park Drumalee Cross, Cootehill Road, Cavan.