€90,000 investment in Carndonagh by one of Inishowen’s largest employers

  • Posted by Forward Emphasis
  • On December 20, 2023

Malin Head based Forward Emphasis International has chosen the Carndonagh Gift Card as its main staff reward for the third year running. 

An Inishowen firm is thinking local once more as it rewards staff with the Carndonagh Gift Card, reaching a milestone of €90,000 invested in the region through the gift card over the past three years. Staff at Forward Emphasis will receive their Carndonagh Gift Card in time for Christmas and can spend their cards at almost 50 businesses in the area.

Based in Malin Head, Forward Emphasis provides outsourced services for clients mainly in the Insurance and Financial Services industry, with staff both office and home based.

Linda McColgan is Senior Manager, Customer Experience, at Forward Emphasis and said supporting local is a huge priority for the company, and for its over 300 staff:

“Supporting local is part of our culture at Forward Emphasis, and using the Carndonagh Gift Card is one way that we can give back to our community for the support we’ve had over the last 23 years. Credit really has to go to our team though because the choice of what Christmas reward they receive is down to them. The Carndonagh Gift Card is a great thing to have because it’s very user friendly and so many businesses are included in it, from supermarkets to chemists, clothes shops to cafes, restaurants to services. 

It’s great for staff to have the variety of how to spend their card. Some may use their card to stock up on shopping for Christmas, on oil to heat their homes, or in any other way that they choose. We’re living through a cost of living crisis, and offering practical, useful support that recognises the increased costs staff have is vital for us. 

The fact that we can reward staff using the Small Benefit Exemption scheme that allows us to give up to two benefits each year, up to a total value of €1,000 tax free is fantastic. We can give staff the Carndonagh Gift Card, offer flexible support for them, and invest in our local area too. The investment in the gift card scheme is giving our staff a year end boost to supplement the €8.6million Annual payroll predominately benefitting the Inishowen area.  

Using the Carndonagh Gift Card for our Christmas rewards is very straightforward. We tend to buy the physical cards and once they’re delivered, just hand them out to staff. Because they are Mastercard backed, they’re easy for staff to use too. At FEI we value our staff and are actively recruiting in the New Year.”


The Carndonagh Traders’ Association launched the physical Carndonagh Gift Card in 2021, with a digital version introduced in 2023, and have become popular for both consumer gifts and for organisations to use as corporate rewards.

Deirdre Bradley, chairperson of the Carndonagh Traders’ Association said: “€90,000 invested by Forward Emphasis over the past three years into Carndonagh through our gift card is a phenomenal investment in our region. Every card has to be spent here in Carndonagh with our local businesses, keeping our town thriving. It’s particularly heart-warming to see the value that Forward Emphasis staff place on supporting local businesses, and we look forward to welcoming them into Carndonagh to spend their cards this Christmas and beyond.”

The Carndonagh Gift Card is part of the award winning Town & City Gift Cards initaitive from fintech Miconex active across Ireland in Ballinrobe, Drogheda, Sligo and Waterford.

“In our 2023 research, 94% of organisations said supporting local was important when planning rewards and incentives,” Colin Munro, the managing director of Miconex, said.

“It’s important to staff too, with 98% saying they’re keen to support local for Christmas 2023.

“We also found that 72% of staff are concerned with the cost of living crisis and 82% would prefer to receive a gift card from work to other incentives. The Carndonagh Gift Card enables organisations to give practical, flexible support to staff whilst making a tangible investment in the region.”