Analysis
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Permanent TSB needs to introduce accountability

It is difficult to see how Permanent TSB’s chairman Alan Cook can justify the lack of sanctions against any staff or management at the bank. To recap: The bank overcharged almost 1,400 mortgage customers. The mortgage holders’ case was supported by a decision by the Financial Services Ombudsman. The bank then appealed the Ombudsman’s decision to the High Court. When it lost the bank took the issue to the Supreme Court. While it ultimately withdrew the Supreme Court case, in …

Should horse sulky racing be banned?

On the Hebron Road into Kilkenny nestled in between a McDonald’s drive thru and the local cemetery is a small halting site. A crescent of bungalows. Outside on the green, young horses graze, at the back of the bungalows, horse carts rest against walls and sheds.

New Horizons opening up on dwarf-planet Pluto

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent The next 48 hours will prove another important milestone in space exploration, as NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft makes its closest flyby of the dwarf-planet Pluto. The mission will open up a brief but fascinating window on the object, once considered by astronomers to be a planet. So what is New Horizons? Approximately the same size as a baby grand piano, and weighing 454kg, New Horizons is a small unmanned spacecraft packed with instruments …

Ordinary Greeks suffer in high stakes game with Europe

It is both startling and sad to witness an economy seize up. The Greek government believes the paralysis, which it hopes will be short lived, is collateral damage in the fight it has picked with Europe. Time will tell if it is right. In the meantime, Greek businesses are suffering a death by a thousand cuts, which is costing jobs. Many restaurants and shops only accept cash now. Retailers are reluctant to deposit their takings in the bank, because they …

The Field of Dreams Investigation: An Update

Sharp-eyed Prime Time viewers may recall an investigation broadcast in September last year about a “strange transaction” involving a piece of land in Dromahair, Co. Leitrim. More than €500,000 of taxpayers’ money was spent on a sloped field and costs related to the application to build social housing on that field. The investigation resulted in an internal audit report being drawn up by the Department of Environment. That report has now been completed, it contains a number of interesting recommendations. For those …

Greek government engages in game of brinkmanship

After continuous financial instability and cutbacks since 2008, it is easy to see how heaping additional debt and further austerity on to Greece was unpalatable. Conditions on the ground in Greece have worsened and it is almost impossible to see how repeating the same fixes were ever going to lead to a different result. From that point of view one could easily have sympathy with the view taken by the Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras who castigated the conditions the …

Asteroid impact – should we be concerned?

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent In February 2013 a 20 metre wide 7,000 ton piece of space dirt unexpectedly ripped across the skies above Chelyabinsk in Russia. Travelling at 19km per second it exploded with energy equivalent to 500 kilotons of TNT or 30 times the force of the Hiroshima atomic bomb. It was so bright that it burned the eyes and skin of people on the ground, while the force blew out windows, ripped roofs off buildings …

Inside Greece: Healthcare system in disarray

The mimosa trees are in full pink blossom along the dusty road which winds its way through an abandoned army base on the outskirts of Athens. Behind the wire fence is an ordinary, brick building. Inside is something extraordinary. It’s a busy afternoon at the Metropolitan Community Clinic of Hellinikon. Volunteers deal with a constant stream of patients. “We are not an NGO,” one of the volunteers, Christos Sideris, tells me. “We are a grassroots organisation.” Christos used to work …

Where do migrants go when they reach Italy?

The Milano Centrale train station stands magnificent, along one side of the Piazza Duca d’Aosta. It’s front is 200m wide and the vaulted ceiling of the entrance concourse is 72 metres high from the floor. Look up and you see monumental statues and stonework. A pharaoh would have been pleased. At ground level something much more humbling … there you find part of the answer to a question many are asking. Where do the hundreds of thousands of migrants who’ve …

Tony Ryan’s legacy

The 30th anniversary of Ryanair in recent weeks was a birthday that largely went unnoticed. Over the past three decades the airline has transformed its image from a cheap – and sometimes nasty – low fares carrier to an affordable Google of the skies; with its new warmer image being matched by a sophisticated use of social media and data analytics.

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