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‘She was a shining light as a teacher, the children in her class adored her’

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Bouquets of flowers and a candle were left on the bank of the Grand Canal in Tullamore, Co Offaly close to where Ashling Murphy was killed.

She had been out for a run along a canal towpath when she was fatally attacked on Wednesday afternoon.

Former principal of Durrow National School where Ms Murphy worked, Frank Kelly, who is also a friend of the Murphy family, told The Irish Times: “She was a shining light as a teacher, the children in her class adored her. Her word was gold, they worshiped the ground she walked on.”

“She was an absolute gem. She came to the school as a substitute teacher in March 2021 and was then put on a fixed term position from September.

“Ashling was very musical, she had recently bought a set of uilleann pipes and was going to learn how to play them, they are a very difficult instrument to master, but no obstacle was too big for her.

“She also loved her sports and was involved with the choir.

“Her smile would light up a room.”

Mr Kelly returned to the school today to assist in implementing the critical incident plan.

Counsellors from NEPS met with teachers at the school at 8am to prepare them for how best to explain what had happened to the children and to assist them in processing their loss.

The president of Mary Immaculate College (MIC) in Limerick, where Ms Murphy studied, said: “The entire MIC community is heartbroken and shocked to the core to hear of the tragic and senseless killing of Ashling Murphy who graduated from MIC only three months ago. Our heartfelt sympathy go out to her family, friends, colleagues and pupils. RIP Ashling.”

In a statement on social media, the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) said “for such an appalling tragedy to befall a young woman, who only recently began her teaching career, adds to the profound sense of loss and grief felt.”

In an unsigned handwritten message left with flowers at the scene of her death, a local person wrote: “You were one of the kindest girls I’ve met. Always helpful, always had a smile on your face. You were a great mentor on and off the pitch. Fly high angel. Rest in Peace.”

Tina Stones, who works in a corner shop nearby, said it was a sad day for the country.

“A sad day for women, sad that you can’t go for a walk in broad daylight and feel safe. She was after working a hard day and never made it home,” Ms Stones said.

“I find it hard to talk about it because I get too upset. It’s horrific. Even last night someone commented that there was no-one out walking the streets on their own.

“Normally women would be out walking early. It’s a sad day for women and a sad day for Ireland that this happened.

“We all walk there and everyone knows everyone who walks it and you all say hello to each other.”

Tim Malone, a resident of Thornsbury Estate, which is also close to the Grand Canal, said: “It’s disgraceful that you can’t go down there and do what you want to do. It’s terrible. It’s a grand place to go.”

“It was a fierce shock. It was hard to believe. Look at all the people that uses that [WALKWAY]. It was a grand bright day at 4 o’clock and the sun was shining.”

A man in his 40s is in custody at Tullamore Garda station. He was being detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, which allows for him to be interviewed for up to 24 hours without charge.

Fianna Fáil councillor Tony McCormack told the Irish Times he and the “entire community of Tullamore are shocked that this could happen.” 

“Tullamore is a safe, peaceful town. I live 400 metres from where the incident happened and I use that canal three or four days a week. It is not a secluded area; it would be quite busy.”

“She did everything right. She went to a public place in broad daylight. For someone to do something like that in broad daylight just shocks you to your core,” he said.

Fianna Fáil councillor Declan Harvey said he was “devastated” by the news of Ms Murphy’s death. 

“This never should have happened. A girl gone out for a jog after a day’s work and for this tragedy to happen is just unbelievable,” he said. 

“This has really scared a lot of people. Men and women, young and old use that canal line daily. It’s never been a problem. My wife would go out there on her own regularly. I wonder will that keep happening now.” 

Ken Smollen, a councillor with the Irish Democratic Party, said in a post on Facebook that people were “numbed” by the incident and that it was time to “wake up to the fact that violence of any kind against innocent women whether in domestic settings or in public places is simply unacceptable.” 

“I didn’t personally know Ashling but like so many other people I feel numb this morning by what happened to her when she was simply out exercising on the banks of the Grand Canal in Tullamore,” he said.
 

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Hyatt unveils plans for two new UK hotels

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Hyatt Hotels Corporation has entered into management agreements with Stratford City Hotels Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of M&L Hospitality, for Hyatt Regency London Stratford and Hyatt House London Stratford. The 225-room Hyatt Regency London Stratford and the 127-room Hyatt House London Stratford are expected to open in Q2 2022 following an extensive refurbishment. Both hotels will be conveniently located within one of Europe’s largest urban shopping and entertainment complexes, Westfield Stratford City, and a short walk to Stratford Station and Queen Elizabeth Park.

 

“The addition of these two hotels will be another exciting step in growing Hyatt’s brand presence in the United Kingdom and in creating a network of hotels across the key commercial and leisure markets in the country,” said Felicity Black Roberts, vice president of development Europe, Hyatt. “We worked closely with M&L Hospitality to choose the right brands for the location and are pleased to be continuing our relationship with them following the successful openings of Hyatt Regency Manchester and Hyatt House Manchester in 2019.”

 

Designed with productivity in mind, Hyatt Regency London Stratford will offer business and leisure travellers alike a stress-free and seamless environment to stay connected. Guests can enjoy 628m² of meeting space, along with a spacious restaurant, bar and an open-air terrace. Hyatt House London Stratford will provide guests with modern, apartment-style suites with fully equipped kitchens and flexible workspaces, designed to make them feel at home, especially during extended stays.

 

The hotels are located close to Stratford Station, one of the UK’s busiest train stations, giving guests swift access to Central London in only seven minutes. Stratford International Station connects guests to St Pancras International Station and transfers to the Eurostar train, which provides services to Paris, Brussels, Rotterdam and Amsterdam.

 

The properties will also be easily accessible to Heathrow International Airport via the new Queen Elizabeth Crossrail line due to open mid-2022, which will offer services to Stratford in approximately 45 minutes. Furthermore, London City Airport is only 20 minutes from Stratford on the Docklands Light Railway, making it an ideal location for business and leisure guests.

 

“We are pleased to be able to continue our work with Hyatt in the United Kingdom,” said Neil Maxwell, chief executive officer of M&L Hospitality. “Our strategy focuses on identifying key gateway cities with strong economic growth. Stratford is experiencing a real boom and our plans to introduce these Hyatt House and Hyatt Regency hotels to London will capitalize on this.”

 

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Inside three new chalets for sale in Les Gets ski resort

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After France reopened its borders to British travellers, there was a huge sigh of relief among British skiers.

The French Alps are the number one skiing destination for Britons and many feel it’s high time to get back on the slopes and enjoy the mountains once again. 

One location that’s very popular with British holidaymakers and second home buyers is the smaller resort of Les Gets in the French Alps. It is is only an hour’s drive from Geneva Airport – making it the perfect destination for British skiers and snowboarders looking for easy access to the Alps. 

You can leave your desk at 5pm on a Friday evening and be in the resort that night. That kind of easy access will leave some dreaming of a property, so that they can make the most of their holidays and perhaps squeeze in a few more.   

British holidaymakers can once again travel to France after the country eased Covid restrictions

British holidaymakers can once again travel to France after the country eased Covid restrictions

We take a look at a development of three properties for sale in the French ski resort of Les Gets (pictured)

We take a look at a development of three properties for sale in the French ski resort of Les Gets (pictured)

new development of just three chalets being built in Les Gets features the kind of homes many skiers would love, but the price tags starting at more than £1.5million will be beyond the reach of many.

The prices reflect how Les Gets popularity, accessibility and limited supply of properties mean there is huge demand for holiday homes in the area.

You will need deep pockets if you want to own a home in Les Gets. But the builders of this development are keen to stress that the properties are ‘keenly priced’ for the local property market. 

The four-bedroom chalets spanning across three levels are available via skiingproperty.com from €1,848,000 euros, the equivalent of £1,536,762. It is rare to find a whole chalet in the area for less than €2million, the equivalent of £1,670,890.

However, it is possible to buy in Les Gets on smaller budgets, if you are happy to have an apartment instead of a chalet. As we highlight below, good quality apartments can be bought for around the £300,000 mark. 

The chalets can be found on the Route des Chavannes, a two-minute drive from the main Chavannes ski lifts, although skiers can take the Gentian piste down to the Gibannaz area and walk just 300 metres to the front door of the chalets.

The luxury chalets are each sold as freehold and if the new owners want to rent them out, they do so under their own arrangements once purchased.

The freehold chalets in Les Gets have yet to be completed (pictured: computer generated images of what the properties will look like once they are finished)

The freehold chalets in Les Gets have yet to be completed (pictured: computer generated images of what the properties will look like once they are finished)

Les Gets (pictured) is popular among British skiers and snowboarders in the winter, and keen mountain bike riders and hikers in the summer

Les Gets (pictured) is popular among British skiers and snowboarders in the winter, and keen mountain bike riders and hikers in the summer

Les Gets is a ski resort that is part of the huge Portes du Soleil ski network, one of the world’s largest that links 13 different villages including Morzine and Avoriaz

Les Gets is a ski resort that is part of the huge Portes du Soleil ski network, one of the world’s largest that links 13 different villages including Morzine and Avoriaz

Les Gets is popular among British skiers and snowboarders in the winter, as well as keen mountain bike riders and hikers in the summer.

The ski resort is part of the huge Portes du Soleil ski network, one of the world’s largest that links 13 different villages including Morzine, Avoriaz and Chalet on the French side and Champéry, Les Crosets and Morgins on the Swiss side.

During the summer, the bike park at Les Gets offers one of the largest network of mountain biking trails for all levels in the Alps.

There are also several famous mountain passes – known as ‘cols’ – that are often used during sections of the Tour de France cycling race.

Les Gets can be reached from Geneva Airport in around one hour by car and it is also one of the closest major ski resorts that can be reached by car from Britain.

Les Gets can be reached from Geneva Airport in around one hour by car and it is also one of the closest major ski resorts that can be reached by car from Britain

Les Gets can be reached from Geneva Airport in around one hour by car and it is also one of the closest major ski resorts that can be reached by car from Britain

An artists impression of what the interiors of the chalets could look like

An artists impression of what the interiors of the chalets could look like 

The new build chalets have four double bedrooms, three bathrooms and 314 square metres of living space.

They extend across three floors, with ensuite bathrooms for the two bedrooms on the top floor and a shared bathroom for the two bedrooms on the lower floor. The top floor bedrooms also have balconies with mountains views.

The main floor includes two separate living areas and an open plan kitchen. There is a large balcony, a private garden and a garage.

Les Gets is well-known for its family appeal, and this four-bedroom property is ideal for families looking for winter and summer holiday accommodation in the French Alps.

Because the property is being sold as a classic freehold, the owners can choose to live in the property or use it as a holiday home. They can also choose the rent the property out when they are not using it.

Prices for the four-bed chalets start at €1,848,000 euros, the equivalent of £1,536,762

Prices for the four-bed chalets start at €1,848,000 euros, the equivalent of £1,536,762

During winter, Mont Chery offers some hidden off-piste skiing mostly known only to locals

During winter, Mont Chery offers some hidden off-piste skiing mostly known only to locals

Les Gets flats for sale under £400k 

This one-bed flat is in La Turche neighbourhood

This one-bed is in the La Turche neighbourhood

Les Gets also offers properties for sale for those with a smaller budget.

Properties currently for sale include a one-bedroom apartment for sale via skiingproperty.com, which has a price tag of £391,011. 

It is part of a new-build block of 21 apartments, each with their own balcony.

The ski-in ski-out flat is in the La Turche neighbourhood, which is just five minutes away by car.

This two-bed apartment is just 200 metres from the ski lift in Les Perrieres

This two-bed apartment is just 200 metres from the ski lift in Les Perrieres

Also available is a two-bed apartment that is just 200 metres from the ski lift in Les Perrieres, at the entrance Les Gets ski resort.

The traditional style new build flat is on the market via skiingproperty.com for £310,936.

The pretty resort of Les Gets is a traditional Alpine village with classic chalet style accommodation.

During the summer, the network of hiking trails is vast. The cable car to Mont Chery offers incredible views of Western Europe’s highest peak, Mont Blanc, and the easy trail from the cable car station to Mont Caly offers some of the best views in the Alps. 

Recommended lunch venues include Les Chevrelles, a pretty farmhouse restaurant at the end of the walk, it is then possible to take the ‘petit train’ back to the village centre.

During winter, Mont Chery offers some hidden off-piste skiing mostly known only to locals.

La Grande Ourse is a mountain restaurant on the slopes of Mont Chery where the British owners – and chef – organise weekly dinners where they will bring diners up in cat track vehicles. The fantastic food is known throughout the area and it’s popular with both British and French guests.

The three chalets for sale are unfurnished. As a new build property, the buyer will benefit from a lower notary fee of 2 per cent – resale properties have much higher fees of 7 to 8 per cent -, allowing for further savings.

In the future, if the owner decides to rent out their chalet when they are not using it, they can reclaim the 20 per cent VAT from the property purchase price, providing that certain conditions are met.

We are open and ready to welcome British skiers and snowboarders back to our slopes for the rest of the winter 

Julian Walker, of skiingproperty.com, said: ‘This is a rare opportunity to purchase a new chalet in a resort that normally sees prices for similar properties well in excess of €2million. Les Gets is a great summer and winter destination and just an hour’s drive from Geneva Airport, making it an attractive offering for families. The past two summers have seen record numbers of visitors in the resort as people flock to the mountain for the fresh air and space’. 

And Les Gets’ tourist office director Alexis Bongard, said: ‘We are delighted that the French Government has finally lifted these border restrictions that impacted Les Gets so badly, and of course created so much stress and worry for British people heading here. 

‘We are open and ready to welcome British skiers and snowboarders back to our slopes for the rest of the winter, it felt very strange without you here.’ 

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Varakar says law on right to seek remote working can ‘change the culture’

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Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said that a proposed law giving people the right to request remote working arrangements will mean employers are more likely to grant them for fear of being brought to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

Mr Varadkar said he believes the legislation can “change the culture” and that employers will embrace it.

The general scheme of a Bill to provide for remote working will be brought to the Cabinet on Tuesday by Minister for Enterprise Mr Varadkar. It will set out a legal framework whereby an employer can either approve or reject a request to work remotely from an employee.

Under the plans – which Mr Varadkar hopes to have enacted in the next couple of months – there will be an independent appeals process through the WRC.

Speaking ahead of the publication of the outline of the legislation Mr Varadkar said it will require employers to take a request seriously, to respond within a defined timeframe and “to give a good reason that actually stacks up if they were challenged.”

He added: “It can change the culture and move the dial so that employers will be more likely to say yes for fear of being taken to the WRC or to court if they say no.”

Embrace

Mr Varadkar predicted that “the vast majority of employers are going to embrace this.”

He added: “Everyone sees the benefits of home working/remote working – reduced traffic, reduced crowding in office spaces and also it’s very much an employees’ market at the moment.

“Employers are finding it really hard to hire staff and retain staff and it makes sense I think if you’re an employer or running a business to embrace new models of working because that’s how you’re going to get staff. It’s also how you’re going to keep staff.”

The Labour Party has argued that the Government’s plans will not go far enough with employment spokeswoman Senator Maire Sherlock saying the Government must guarantee the right to flexible work.

Mr Varadkar said the Bill won’t do this.

He said there was a lot of work done with the Attorney General and “Government can only interfere in contracts that employers and employees have signed to a certain extent.”

He also pointed out that remote working isn’t always going to be possible.

“It’s going to be very difficult to do in education, in healthcare, in manufacturing, hospitality for example.

“What we want to do is get to a position whereby remote working/home working becomes a choice and that employers facilitate that provided the business gets done and provided public services don’t suffer.”

Important day

Mr Varadkar said that Monday – the start of the phased return to workplaces – “is an important day as we learn to live with Covid, as we move from the emergency phase into a phase where we return to some semblance of normality.”

He said that the Government does not want things to go back to the old normal.

“We want to see more remote working, more home working, more hybrid working”.

Mr Varadkar said that there was a meeting of Government officials, unions and employer groups on Monday and it was agreed that there will be a new work safety protocol that will offer guidelines on the return to work over the coming weeks.

He said: “We’ll try to make permanent some of those things that were always a good idea in a work place such as good air quality to reduce the risk of the transmission of viruses, hygiene, avoiding overcrowding and that work is very much underway”.

He expects the updated protocol to be published by the end of the week.

Mr Varadkar was also asked about plans for an inquiry into the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and he said the Government have to discuss what form it will take.

He said no decision has been made on the model of the inquiry but “ it is important that we have one that allows us to learn the lessons.

“Relative to other countries Ireland handled the pandemic well – I think everyone acknowledges that when you look at the numbers.

“But we didn’t get everything right either and I think it’s important that we have an inquiry that is not about blaming people or pointing the finger but is about working out what we did right, what we wrong and what we could do better so that we’re prepared if there is a resurgence in the virus or if there is a pandemic caused for a different reason.”

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