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Ford revises new Focus prices for 191 promotion



As part of the company’s 191 new registration promotion, Ford says that it has revised its prices for the All-New Ford Focus which arrived in Ireland last month.

  Commenting on the 191 promotional prices for the new Focus, Ford Ireland Managing Director, Ciarán McMahon, said: “Since it first arrived in Ireland 20 years ago, the Ford Focus has been hugely popular with Irish motorists who loved both its standout design and great driving dynamics. Our 191 registration promotion will make Focus as enticing to new car buyers across the country as it was when the car first appeared here back in 1999.

  “This latest Focus delivers more style, space and advanced driving technologies than any previous version of the car and with a lead-in price of just €22,495, it is a very competitively priced package and should be on the shopping list of any new car buyers looking to buy in January’s new car market” Mr. McMahon added.

  The entry-level model quoted is a Zetec 5-door version 1.0T EcoBoost 125PS petrol engine and a manual 6 speed transmission. The 191 registration promotion for all new Focus covers vehicles ordered before the end of December 2018.


Blueprint Autos wins Connaught/Ulster Independent Workshop of Year Award – again!



Blueprint Autos at Golf Links Road, Roscommon recently received the Connaught/Ulster Independent Workshop of the Year Award for a second year in a row.

  Tommie Rafferty (Director) said: “We are proud to have received the Connaught/Ulster Independent Workshop of the Year for a second year in a row. We would like to thank each and every one of our loyal customers for all their support and business over the last three years since we moved premises”.

  Blueprint Autos is an SIMI registered automotive sales, servicing and repair company based on the Golf Links Road, Roscommon.

At Blueprint Autos, they appreciate you as a customer and respect your car, whether yours is a trusted reliable favourite, your sporty pride and joy or a sleek executive model.

  Says Tommie: “We were first established in 2006 as a service and repair garage. The business grew from strength to strength which brought on the demand for car sales which began in 2013. This expansion facilitated the need to move to a bigger premises in 2015 on the Golf Links Road. We now have ambitious plans for the future of Blueprint Autos and are always striving to grow and improve.

  “Our philosophy is to make car management and maintenance clear and simple. We ensure you are informed properly on what’s gone wrong with your car and what needs to happen to get it back on the road. We strive to make this process as transparent as possible so you can clearly see the value you are getting for your money”.  

Eddie’s writing career is motoring along!


You may know him as the Motoring Editor of the Irish Independent but there’s another side to Eddie Cunningham.

  He has just written a collection of 20 short stories. Called ‘Letters In The Sky And Other Stories,’ they are described as original, engrossing and unusual in that they pick the lock of the bizarre and the everyday.

  With Eddie’s stories nothing is as it seems; much is left to your imagination. They can be provocative, dark, warm and entertaining. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself re-reading them several times.

  A native of Clara, Co. Offaly, Eddie is former Senior Deputy Editor of the Irish Independent, lives in Dublin and has four daughters. There was a strong family involvement in bringing the collection to fruition. Eddie’s daughter, Emily, acted as Editor while his brother PJ’s company Ballpoint Press published them.

  Eddie says: “I’m delighted to be the author of a book that was edited by my daughter and published by my brother. It doesn’t happen every day.”

 ‘Letters In The Sky And Other Stories’ by Eddie Cunningham is published by Ballpoint Press Ltd (€14.99) and is available in all good bookshops.

Half of learner drivers renew permits over three times



Along with school exams, the driving test is one of the most daunting tests there is and according to research from Carzone, 57 per cent of those who hold a provisional licence have renewed it over three times. The research was carried out as part of the Carzone Motoring Report which examines trends in the Irish motoring market.

  According to the RSA there are almost 83,000 learner drivers on the waiting list, with the average waiting time at nearly 12 weeks. Even with the already long wait to take the driving test, drivers are happy to see this increase, by applying mandatory re-tests for drivers over the age of 70. Currently drivers over 70 require a certification of fitness to drive from their GP and can only apply for a three-year or a one-year licence. Despite the restrictions already in place over one in two respondents (55%) believe there should be a mandatory retest for everyone over the age of 70. 

  The research also revealed that failure rates are on the increase. It found that 68 per cent of drivers who took the driving test over 10 years ago, passed first time around compared with 48 per cent in the past five years, a 20 per cent decrease in the first time pass rate.



Drivers fear icy road conditions the most during winter



Research carried out by mobility solutions specialist, ‘Easytrip’, has revealed that 43 per cent of drivers fear icy road conditions the most during the winter months.

  One in five motorists who responded to the research also highlighted their dislike of driving during the shorter and darker evenings at this time of year.

  The easytrip research asked motorists about their least preferred winter driving conditions which uncovered the top dislikes as:

- The glare from other driver’s headlights (29 per cent)

- Poor visibility of cyclists on the road (28 per cent)

- Driving in heavy rain (24 per cent)

- Driving in the fog (18 per cent)

- Poor visibility of pedestrians on footpaths (13 per cent)

- Increased traffic on roads (11 per cent)

- Defrosting car windows (10 per cent)


Vehicle breakdowns

The winter months tend to bring an increase in roadside breakdowns and when it comes to who a motorist would call in the event of an incident most drivers (65 per cent) naturally selected their breakdown assistance provider. However, the easytrip survey also revealed that one in six motorists would contact a family member first, and one in eight would contact their insurance company.


All-new Citroen Dispatch wins What Van? Award

The new Citroen Dispatch has picked up a major accolade in the UK. The new mid-size panel van was named joint winner of both the overall Light Commercial Vehicle of the Year prize and the Medium Van of the Year trophy at the 2017 What Van? Awards.


  What Van?’s panel of experienced judges considered the model to be “an outstanding new van that has come to the market this year”, adding that the New Dispatch “breaks new ground in the largest and most important sector of the market.”

  James Dallas, Editor of What Van?, commented: “The Citroen Dispatch represents a big step up compared with its predecessor in terms of quality, refinement and practicality. It should propel the brand to the forefront of what is a very competitive market sector. The new Dispatch brings useful innovations to the market and it now stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the best medium vans on offer.”

  The What Van? Awards are voted for by an expert panel of judges who use their combined decades of experience to decide the winners. The awards highlight the best products, companies and services in the industry, and reward those making the biggest difference to van operators and drivers.

  The design of the New Citroen Dispatch was inspired by the world of passenger cars and SUVs. Its styling is fluid and practical, with the all-new modular platform allowing new Dispatch to be available in three lengths. Its practicality is illustrated by an optional hands-free function for the sliding side doors and numerous improvements in the cabin that make the life of the driver significantly easier.

  Besides useful everyday functions like hands-free entry and start, the new Dispatch also features technology such as Mirror Screen smartphone connectivity that brings the van right up to date.

  Louise Murphy, Citroen Ireland’s Marketing Director, said: “We are delighted that What Van? Magazine has voted New Citroen Dispatch as the best new light commercial vehicle. In a highly competitive market to gain industry recognition on such an important new product is very important to us.”

  The all-new Citroen Dispatch van, which went on sale recently offers customers a compelling and competitive product range with exceptional capabilities and efficiencies. It also looks very well with the latest brand identity and robust and modern design.

Renault expands youthful and impressive range

2017 is an exciting year for the Renault Group with four new models launched recently and a number of the range refreshed, including the Dacia range and new Clio.


New Megane and Scenic models

The all-new Mégane Range is available in three body styles – the Hatch, Grand Coupé (saloon) and Sport Tourer (estate) offering something for everyone. Both the Sport Tourer and the Grand Coupe versions are longer and have a longer wheelbase than the hatchback, which helps provide more room in the cabin, especially for passengers in the rear seats.

  The Megane Sport Tourer is priced from €20,490 and the Grand Coupe from €21,990.

  The Grand Coupe offers a new top of the range Signature trim level, which includes full leather interior and LED headlights.

  The additional arrival of the distinctive fourth generation all-new Renault Scénic and Grand Scenic provides a great sales boost for the brand. The new Scenic models offer a range of efficient petrol and diesel powertrain options, including Hybrid Assist version. They also offer unique-in-segment technologies and 8.7-inch portrait touchscreen infotainment and navigation system.

  Unprecedented 20-inch wheels as standard across the range and they have a 5 Star Euro NCAP rating. 22,000 Scenics sold in Ireland since 1996, and pricing starts from €26,000 for all-new Scenic and €28,400 for the Grand Scenic.

  The arrival of the fourth generation Scénic signals the complete renewal of Renault’s all-new family car line-up, alongside the Kadjar and the all-new Mégane trio, means that the French manufacturer now claims to have the youngest model range on sale in Europe.

  The Clio which came in at number four in the B-segment after the first ten days of January has had its first refresh since 2012 when the brand’s new styling identity was launched. Its more appealing than ever with full-LED lighting signatures, redesigned front top and lower grille and interior upgrades including upgraded upholstery across all trim levels. The new Clio also comes in four new body colours.

Dacia is king

The Dacia brand which continues to shock Irish motorists with its ridiculously affordable range of cars, has proved to the market that by doing the maths, you can own a brand new car for a lot less than a second hand car or get more bang for your buck than other established brands.

  Coming in at 2.8% share for a brand less than 5 years launched is a great success story for the Group. Dacia has now refreshed its entire range of cars, including new Duster, new Sandero, new Sandero Stepway and new Logan MCV.

Vantastic European LCV leaders

Renault is Europe’s best selling and multi award winning LCV range. The popular Trafic was the best-selling model for Renault, followed by Master and Kangoo.

  The award-winning LCV range combined with the very attractive 5-year warranty makes Renault LCV a very affordable proposition for businesses of all sizes.

You can bank on Renault

The French carmaker points out that Renault and Dacia continues to be Ireland’s fastest growing network with 28 dealerships nationwide (and this will be capped at 30), all of which operate a branch of its own bank.

 Renault says that the availability of finance through it’s own bank was also a key factor in the success of the two brands, as was Renault’s unique five year warranty which is available across the entire range of Renault vehicles. Renault Bank celebrated five years in Ireland in September 2016.


Over half of motorists pass at first attempt

If you’re thinking of learning to drive for the first time this year, it can be an exciting yet daunting experience.

  Carzone’s 2016 Motoring Report findings recorded that almost a third (29%) of Irish motorists took to the wheel at the age of 17, with the majority (41%) learning to drive between the ages of 17-20.

  You may know all of the theory and rules of the road, but getting behind the wheel for the very first time is a completely different story. The first time you sit in the driver’s seat you’ll be nervous; it’s only natural and the only way to overcome this is through practice! Practice appeared to make perfect for over half (57%) of Irish motorists who boasted of passing their test first time round. So good luck!

Ford launches new sporty ST-Line range

Ford has launched a new ST-Line model range in Ireland, featuring vehicles with sporty styling. Inspired by Ford Performance, they are offering a range of powerful and efficient EcoBoost petrol and TDCi diesel powertrain options.


  The ST-Line is available on some of Ford’s most popular models: the Fiesta, Focus, Mondeo and Kuga. ST prices start from €21,350 for the Fiesta with the 100PS engine.

  Delivering a bold and sportier exterior and and enhanced interior styling inspired by Ford’s Fiesta ST and Focus ST performance models, the new ST-Line range is designed for customers who aspire to the sporty image of Ford’s acclaimed ST models. That’s drivers that do not require the full performance delivered by optimised ST engines and chassis with sports technologies. The ST-Line line-up is offered with a range of powerful engines including Ford’s multi-award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine; sport suspension and body styling; unique alloy wheel designs; and sport seats, sport steering wheel and alloy pedals for the interior.

  “With our new ST-Line range even more customers can experience sporty style and driving dynamics inspired by our most exciting Ford Performance line-up ever, that includes models such as the Focus RS, Fiesta ST200 and Ford GT supercar” said Ciarán McMahon, managing director of Ford Ireland. “With its sporty looks, extra powered engines and good value, I am sure our new ST-Line range will appeal to a broad range of buyers.”

  The new Ford ST-Line models are available only with high-power engine derivatives that complement the enhanced driving dynamics delivered by sport suspension.

  For example, the Fiesta ST-Line model boasts Ford’s award-winning 1.0 litre EcoBoost petrol engine with higher power outputs of 100PS and 125PS. For the Focus ST-Line, diesel powertrains on offer include a 120PS 1.5 litre TDCi or a 2.0 litre 150PS option.

  “The new ST-Line range will offer customers a chance to enjoy the famous fun-to-drive characteristics and great looks of Ford’s performance models in an exciting and affordable package with a broad range of petrol and diesel engines,” concluded McMahon.


JJ’s to host first Beer and Cider Festival!

JJ Harlow’s has become renowned for a wide range of local and international refreshments and this Saturday the bar will host its first Beer and Cider Festival, with craft breweries taking centre stage.

  Co-owner Brian Mugan said the idea had been in the pipeline for a while: “It’s an idea myself and Caitlín have always had, to create a festival feel around it and showcase some of the producers of our popular craft beers and ciders. This Saturday we’ll have craft beer and cider producers here from 2 pm until close. We’ll be clearing out space for them and they’ll be setting up their own bars.”

  Brewing companies such as Black Donkey, Galway Hooker, St. Mel’s, Reel Deel, Soulwater and McIvor’s Cider Company from Armagh will be on hand with the very best in craft produce. Tokens can be purchased at the bar and Brian’s business partner, Caitlín, says she’s looking forward to the atmosphere.

  “Customers from the three bars (in JJ’s) will be mixing so it will have that real busy feel which I like. We’re really looking forward to it and it’s a great way of bringing producers and customers together!”

  Beer and cider aficionados won’t even have to leave the bar to get food, as Brian explains: “Castlemine Farms will also be here providing sausages and Molloy’s Bakery will be providing the bread.”

  Castlemine’s glorious sausages and Molloy’s delightful freshly-baked bread won’t be the only food available as the industrious Brian and Caitlín have recently struck up a pizza partnership with the popular ‘Moma’ Italian restaurant in Roscommon.

  Music will be provided on the day by a top DJ, adding to what promises to be a unique occasion. Customers will have the opportunity to try some of the region’s finest breweries as well as JJ’s usual offering at the bar. JJ’s also stocks over 25 different gins, and a pure Irish gin and tonic comes highly recommended!

  So this Saturday JJ Harlow’s invites you to sample some of Ireland’s best craft beer and cider as well as some great food in a warm, friendly atmosphere from 2 pm until late.


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