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State’s first female major general takes seat ‘at highest table in the world’

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Galway woman Maureen O’Brien on Tuesday became the first female Major General in the Irish Defence Forces ahead of her appointment as a UN military advisor in New York.

Speaking on Tuesday Maj Gen O’Brien said her promotion was an “opportunity for people to see, yes women can achieve high ranks in the Defences Forces”.

Minister for Defence Simon Coveney, Chief of Staff Vice-Admiral Mark Mellett and Department of Defence Secretary General Jacqui McCrum gathered at a ceremony at Cathal Brugha Barracks to mark Maj Gen O’Brien’s appointment to the role.

She will serve as one of two military advisors to the UN Secretary General on peacekeeping operations. With her promotion to major general, she has reached the second highest rank in the Defence Forces, junior only to the Chief of Staff.

Mr Coveney said it was a significant day for the Defence Forces and Ireland’s influence in the UN system.

“To any young women who is thinking of the Defence Forces as an opportunity, take a look at Maureen O’Brien and what she has done. She is now a major general, influencing world affairs on war and peace through peacekeeping operations. It’s a fantastic story.”

Maj Gen O’Brien, who will be stationed at the UN Headquarters in New York, has served with peacekeeping missions in various positions from a platoon commander up to de facto commander of the entire UN force in the Golan Heights in Syria.

She said Irish people are particularly suited to peacekeeping. “We don’t take ourselves too seriously and we’ve never been a colonising power,” she told The Irish Times. “We can see both sides. That came across to me when I was working the Golan.

“Having empathy with either side. Not necessarily agreeing with them, but understanding their perspective.”

Asked on RTE Radio about career challenges because of her gender, she said: “If there are obstacles I just challenge the obstacles and I have done that all through my career”.

Maj Gen O’Brien served has served seven overseas tours, including in Lebanon, Western Sahara and East Timor.

She was the first woman to reach the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and in 2012 she became the first female Infantry Battalion Commander.

Ms McCrum said it was a “great day for Mná na hÉireann.” She said she views her job as providing support for “all those Maureens coming behind us.”

Vice-Admiral Mellett said Maj Gen O’Brien “brings a great deal of experience and knowledge to her new role and continues to be an invaluable member of the UN and of Óglaigh na hÉireann”.

Noting Maj Gen O’Brien’s experience as “de facto force commander” in Syria, he said there is an “inextricable link between gender gap and state and intra-state violence.

“Maureen will now bring that experience to the highest table in the world at the UN…where she will bring her experience to bear in bringing peace and stability throughout the world wherever the blue hat is worn.

Mr Coveney said the rate of increase of women in the Defence Forces is “far too slow.” Currently just over seven per cent of personnel are women. He said the target is to get that number to “double figures at least”.

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Six houseboats for sale starting from £30,000

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Houseboats are often perceived as a cheaper alternative to owning a property on land.

But they come with their own challenges and plenty of hands-on maintenance. And of course, there is the regular job of emptying your toilet.

You’ll either have to continuously cruise or pay for a residential mooring if you live on the boat full-time.

We take a look inside six different type of houseboats that are currently for sale and ask which one would you buy - ranging from one costing just shy of £30,000 (pictured - scroll down for more details) to one that costs £2.5m

We take a look inside six different type of houseboats that are currently for sale and ask which one would you buy – ranging from one costing just shy of £30,000 (pictured – scroll down for more details) to one that costs £2.5m

Houseboats come in various shapes and sizes, including narrowboats – typically 6ft 10 in wide and up to 72 long – and Dutch barges, which are former commercial vessels that can be up to 120ft in length and 20ft wide.

They also come with various price tags and so can accommodate all types of different budgets.

Below, we take a look at six various types, ranging in price from just shy of £30,000 and a more eye-watering £2.5milion.

Daniel Copley, of Zoopla, said: ‘Investing in a home on the water may not float everyone’s boat but for those who do take the plunge, it offers both affordability and freedom to up anchor and move to different areas.

‘With luxurious amenities and spacious living areas, houseboats are a popular choice particularly in and around London.’

1. One-bed houseboat, Glasgow, £29,500

This boat is currently moored at Applecross Wharf, in Glasgow, and was converted by the current owners from a former lifeboat escape pod

This boat is currently moored at Applecross Wharf, in Glasgow, and was converted by the current owners from a former lifeboat escape pod

The houseboat is now a home with a brightly-coloured kitchen, and is currently for sale for £29,500 via Home West estate agents

The houseboat is now a home with a brightly-coloured kitchen, and is currently for sale for £29,500 via Home West estate agents

There is one bedroom on the houseboat that is separate from the main living area and it includes some storage space

There is one bedroom on the houseboat that is separate from the main living area and it includes some storage space

This boat is currently moored at Applecross Wharf, in Glasgow, and was converted by the current owners from a former lifeboat escape pod.

It has a brightly coloured kitchen with wood flooring, and one bedroom. It is being sold for £29,500 via Home West estate agents.

2. One-bed houseboat, Brentford, £100,000

This one-bedroom houseboat is currently moored in Brentford, West London, and includes a comfortable living area

This one-bedroom houseboat is currently moored in Brentford, West London, and includes a comfortable living area 

The houseboat is on the market with a price tag of £100,000 and the sale is being handled by Strike estate agents

The houseboat is on the market with a price tag of £100,000 and the sale is being handled by Strike estate agents

The boat is a Dutch barge that has been completely renovated, and includes solar panels as well as a woodburner

The boat is a Dutch barge that has been completely renovated, and includes solar panels as well as a woodburner

This one-bedroom houseboat is currently moored in Brentford, West London, and the £100,000 price tag includes both the purchase of the boat and the rental mooring.

The mooring is in a quiet location and is within walking distance to Brentford high street.

The boat is a Dutch barge that has been completely renovated, and includes solar panels and hot water supplied by an immersion heater. It is being sold by Strike estate agents.

3. Three-bed houseboat, London, £408,000

This stunning Thames barge was built in 1929 and is moored at St Katherines Dock in central London on a leisure mooring where it has been for the past 23 years

This stunning Thames barge was built in 1929 and is moored at St Katherines Dock in central London on a leisure mooring where it has been for the past 23 years

The interior has been converted to include a large living area that has an extensive library and a TV area

 The interior has been converted to include a large living area that has an extensive library and a TV area

The houseboat spreads across 1350 sq ft of space and features three attractive bedrooms - including one with an en suite

The houseboat spreads across 1350 sq ft of space and features three attractive bedrooms – including one with an en suite

The well-presented houseboat has a price tag of £408,000 and it is currently on the market via the Unique Property Company

The well-presented houseboat has a price tag of £408,000 and it is currently on the market via the Unique Property Company

There is a large separate bathroom with a roll top bath and wood on the walls and ceiling, as well as on the floor

There is a large separate bathroom with a roll top bath and wood on the walls and ceiling, as well as on the floor

This stunning Thames barge was built in 1929 and has been converted into a three-bedroom home with central heating and a wood-burning stove.

It is moored at St Katherines Dock in central London on a leisure mooring where it has been for the past 23 years. The mooring costs £12,870 a year.

The boat has a price tag of £408,000 and it is being sold via the Unique Property Company.

4. Two-bed houseboat, West Sussex, £175,000

This marina boat is currently moored in Chichester Habour, which is just four miles from Chichester city centre

This marina boat is currently moored in Chichester Habour, which is just four miles from Chichester city centre

The property has a modern living area and is currently on the market for sale for £175,000 via H2O Homes estate agents

 The property has a modern living area and is currently on the market for sale for £175,000 via H2O Homes estate agents

The smart property boasts two bedrooms with modern coloured lighting, including this one that also features a TV on the wall

The smart property boasts two bedrooms with modern coloured lighting, including this one that also features a TV on the wall

There is a kitchen with white cabinets, a modern worktop and wood effect flooring to complete the monochrome look

There is a kitchen with white cabinets, a modern worktop and wood effect flooring to complete the monochrome look

This marina boat is currently in Chichester Habour and is for sale for £175,000 via H2O Homes.

It boasts two bedrooms and a bespoke awning allowing use of the deck come rain or shine.

5. Five-bed houseboat, London, £2.5m

This houseboat is currently moored at the prestigious St Katharine Docks, which is London's premier luxury yacht marina

This houseboat is currently moored at the prestigious St Katharine Docks, which is London’s premier luxury yacht marina

This 1930s steel boat for sale has an eye-watering price tag of £2.5million and is being sold by RiverHomes

This 1930s steel boat for sale has an eye-watering price tag of £2.5million and is being sold by RiverHomes

It has been converted into a luxury home with a central atrium stairway to a lower deck, which has five bedrooms as well as access to a jet ski platform

It has been converted into a luxury home with a central atrium stairway to a lower deck, which has five bedrooms as well as access to a jet ski platform

The large living area includes a kitchen with a breakfast bar, as well as a separate dining area with plenty of space to entertain

The large living area includes a kitchen with a breakfast bar, as well as a separate dining area with plenty of space to entertain

One of the more unusual features of the houseboat is a sauna (pictured), which adds a luxurious touch to the property

One of the more unusual features of the houseboat is a sauna (pictured), which adds a luxurious touch to the property

This 1930s steel boat for sale has an eye-watering price tag of £2.5million and is being sold by RiverHomes.

It has been converted into a luxury home with a central atrium stairway to a lower deck, which has five bedrooms as well as access to a jet ski platform.

6. Three-bed houseboat, Hampton, £500,000

This three-bedroom floating home is in Hampton, in the London borough of Richmond upon Thames

This three-bedroom floating home is in Hampton, in the London borough of Richmond upon Thames

It is on a desirable private island located in the middle of the River Thames and is for sale for £500,000 via Water Side Residential estate agents.

It is on a desirable private island located in the middle of the River Thames and is for sale for £500,000 via Water Side Residential estate agents.

The kitchen is well equipped and includes colour coordinated tiles on the walls and a white porcelain sink

The kitchen is well equipped and includes colour coordinated tiles on the walls and a white porcelain sink

This spacious bedroom includes plenty of storage on one wall as well as a good-sized window with a view of the River Thames

This spacious bedroom includes plenty of storage on one wall as well as a good-sized window with a view of the River Thames

This three-bedroom floating home is in Hampton, in the London borough of Richmond upon Thames.

It is on a desirable private island located in the middle of the River Thames and is for sale for £500,000 via Water Side Residential estate agents.

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Abrdn acquires Waddinxveen warehouse scheme (NL)

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abrdn European Logistics Income has signed the purchase agreement for the acquisition of the recently completed warehouse extension at Waddinxveen, the Netherlands, for a total net purchase price of €4.9m. The company exercised its right of refusal over this development located directly adjacent to the existing warehouse bought in 2018. This land, owned by and developed with our tenant Combilo, has provided an additional circa 2,400m² of cooled warehouse space and 157m² of office space. The extension will allow Combilo to service its growing client base, including a Swedish supermarket chain. The lease runs concurrent with the original, with over 11 years remaining, and will generate additional rent of €250,000 per annum, reflecting a yield of 5%. The extension complies with the latest energy neutrality standards in the Netherlands and includes 16 rooftop solar panels, resulting in an A+++ energy rating.

 

In addition, the company has agreed a new 5 year lease with ADER at Unit 3, part of Phase II at its Gavilanes site, Madrid. ADER provides distribution services to companies in the freight and logistics sector and is consolidating its operations in the Gavilanes area with the leasing of this second, 7,375m² building. The annual contracted rent of almost €470,000 per annum is fully CPI indexed and in line with expectations.

 

Evert Castelein, Fund Manager for ASLI, commented: “Supporting our tenants as they expand is a key part of our strategy. This is another example of how flexibility and the option to extend buildings within our portfolio can create additional value over the medium term. The new lease with ADER not only improves the portfolio’s income characteristics, but also underscores the desirability of the Gavilanes assets, which offer access to c. six million people across the wider Madrid area.”

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Garden offices and orangeries are increasing in popularity among homebuyers says Rightmove

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Garden offices, bi-fold doors and orangeries are among popular features that homebuyers are searching for, new research has revealed.

Rightmove looked at the home features that have grown the most in popularity, based on the number of agents advertising them as a key selling point on its website.

It found that garden offices top the list, with the proportion of property listings that mention them now 11 times higher than a decade ago, up 1046 per cent.

The proportion of property listings that mention garden offices is up 1046 per cent in the past 10 years, according to Rightmove

The proportion of property listings that mention garden offices is up 1046 per cent in the past 10 years, according to Rightmove

Rightmove looked at the home features that have grown the most in popularity

Rightmove looked at the home features that have grown the most in popularity

Bi-fold doors are second on the list, up 589 per cent compared to ten years ago, followed by orangeries, which are up 173 per cent during the same period.

Also in the list is summer houses, which have increased in popularity by 90 per cent, while greenhouses appear to be on the way out, down by 46 per cent.

Meanwhile, Rightmove said concerns about the environment are rising in priority, with the number of new property listings now mentioning an electric car charging point having increased six times, up 495 per cent, compared with a year ago.

The findings suggested that homeowners could be ditching separate dining rooms for more modern open plan options, with mentions of dining rooms in property adverts down by 28 per cent, and mentions of open-plan rooms up 74 per cent.

Rightmove suggested that the decline of the popularity of dining rooms may also be down to more people converting this room into a home office.

Other features dropping in popularity in the agent listings include conservatories, down 52 per cent, greenhouses, down 46 per cent and fitted wardrobes, down 29 per cent.

House hunters are seeking outdoor spaces and better use of these garden spaces

House hunters are seeking outdoor spaces and better use of these garden spaces 

Rightmove’s Tim Bannister said: ‘Agents and developers have their finger on the pulse when it comes to the home features that will attract suitable buyers.

‘Where dining rooms and fitted wardrobes may not be as important to some potential buyers compared with ten years ago, other features like an outdoor office space have soared as working patterns have changed, and the findings indicate a move towards greener features too.

‘With outside space coming at such a premium, it may be that homeowners are ensuring what they build outside can be used in a number of different ways.

‘For example, summer houses and orangeries are likely to have fewer or smaller windows than conservatories, and so can more suitably double up as home offices during the week and entertaining spaces at the weekend.’

The proportion of property listings that mention bi-fold doors has increased 589 per cent compared to ten years ago

The proportion of property listings that mention bi-fold doors has increased 589 per cent compared to ten years ago

James Holmear, of developer Redrow, said: ‘These findings flow from the demand for more space at home which can accommodate blended personal and professional lives.

‘Home offices have been increasing in popularity as many people continue to work from home on a more permanent basis.

‘Bifold doors are also highly sought after as they enable people to use space flexibly and extend their living space seamlessly into the outdoors. Sustainable features such as EV chargers, solar panels, water butts and eco waste bins are all rising up the priority list.’

Steve Rule, of Cala Homes, said: ‘Over the last couple of years there has been a real shift in what home-hunters are looking for.

‘Buyers are considering in much more detail what they really want and need from their home, and on truly optimising their space, especially as many are spending more time there through home or hybrid working.

Adrienne Minster, of Rated People, added: ‘Homeowners want to reduce their impact on the planet and cut the cost of bills by making their homes more environmentally friendly – in fact, the number one reason for making eco improvements is to lower their bills.

‘So, with the rising cost of living and increasing awareness of the importance of living sustainably, it’s no surprise to see that more homeowners are choosing to make greener swaps and invest in the likes of underfloor heating.’

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