Danske Bank delivers another blow to Irish banking sector

by Business Editor David Murphy So another banking operation in Ireland has pulled the plug in the space of a week. Danske Bank Ireland is closing its personal and business banking only days after ACC announced it was handing back its banking licence. So what does this mean for Ireland? There are going to be a combined 330 jobs lost, many of them will be compulsory redundancies. It leaves a diminishing number of existing players with Ulster Bank, AIB, Bank …

Twitter – always check your sources

By Sinead Crowley, Arts and Media Correspondent The news broke, as it so often does these days, on Twitter. Or did it? Early on Sunday evening I saw a tweet saying Lou Reed had died. I traced the tweet back to its source, the reputable Rolling Stone magazine, so I retweeted the news and watched the tributes roll in from others on my time line. But as minutes ticked by I became concerned. Other than Rolling Stone no other news …

Government has changed direction on savings

  By Business Editor David Murphy Funny what a difference a dozen years can make. In 2001, former Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy introduced SSIA savings accounts in which the Government contributed €1 for every €4 from depositors. In those days the State wanted people to save more – but now as there is less disposable income it wants them to save less. Keeping money on deposit has become much less rewarding as interest rates have been steadily lowered by the …

Budget 2014’s universal truth

By Business Editor David Murphy There is one striking feature about the Budget – universal benefits are back in vogue. The problem with universal benefits is that they are paid to people regardless of their income. Since Ireland entered the bailout in 2010, officials from the EU and IMF have been consistently asking why some benefits – such as child benefit – have been paid to the wealthy as well as the under-privileged. Now the Government has done it again …

Gadgets galore – Nokia Lumia 1020, Xperia Z1, Vodafone R208 Mifi

Science & Technology Correspondent, Will Goodbody, takes a look at some of the latest gadgets and gizmos on the market.   NOKIA LUMIA 1020 Nokia Lumia 1020 – it’s all about the camera Is it a phone, or is it a camera? For some time it has been clear that the era of compact digital cameras is coming to an end, as smartphone manufacturers pack more and more imaging power into new handsets. The Nokia Lumia 1020 is the clearest …

How do we compare?

  by Economics Correspondent Seán Whelan As we glide into the Irish Budget for 2014, its easy to forget that we are not the only country facing a big fiscal challenge, and making significant budget adjustments. Our adjustment – now confirmed at €2.5 billion – is roughly 1.5% of GDP.  The IMF’s annual Fiscal Monitor, just published, sets out what other high debt countries are doing to close their fiscal deficits.  And yes, we do figure in their top ten …

Tourism VAT – the case for and against a tax hike

By Business Editor David Murphy It is almost certain that Finance Minister Michael Noonan will increase VAT on restaurants and hotels in next week’s Budget. His original plan was to temporarily reduce the tax from 13.5% to 9% from July 2011 until December 2013 as a stimulus measure for the tourism industry. The money for the tax cut came from the controversial 1.6% levy on pensions, which expires next September. As a result VAT is due to return to 13.5% …

Flanking banking

  by Seán Whelan, Economics Corresponent One of the chapters in the latest Global Financial Stability Report from the IMF looks at the problem of banks that can not or will not lend money.  It’s not just an Irish problem. According to the IMF (using Bank of International Settlements data) weak credit supply from banks is a problem for Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Spain, the UK and the USA – as well as Ireland. Triple …