Analysis > January 2016

Banking inquiry – Imperfect but not useless

Many may view the banking inquiry as a failure because of the absence of findings against individuals. That’s not surprising given the onerous restrictions on the probe. But it does lay responsibility for what happened on the shoulders of the regulators, government, Europe and bankers.

Cheap oil isn’t all good news

Oil prices have been steadily dropping – a development welcomed by many people. But there is a shadow to what might look like good news for consumers. In 2014 oil prices were an average of $99 a barrel and last year they were an average of $52. This year has been marked by continuing price falls with costs dipping below $28 – a surprisingly low figure. Economically this has benefits – consumers enjoy lower costs for petrol and diesel – …

School admissions policy under UN spotlight

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child will question a Government delegation on Ireland’s record regarding children’s rights on 14 January. Their agenda is a broad one and it includes the issue of school admissions and religion. Specifically, the UN wants to know what measures are being taken to ensure children are not denied a school place on religious grounds. It also wants to know about measures taken to ensure children have the right to opt-out of religious classes and/or …

Will flood levy cause a new storm?

Insurance offers protection against risk, but not against certainty – this is the cold-comfort response that homeowners in areas prone to flooding get when they question why they can’t get covered. Many people who have been hit by the recent floods will be left to pick up the pieces without the help of a cheque from an insurance claim; often because they were flooded before and so couldn’t get the cover that they needed. The people whose homes, land and …

Obama’s last stand – final State of the Union address

President Barack Obama will deliver his final State of the Union address to the Joint Houses of Congress on Tuesday night – actually he will start talking at 2am Irish time Wednesday morning. Fresh from his announcement of executive actions in the area of gun control, the President will use the speech to shape his legacy and to outline some major foreign policy strategies for his last year in office. The Obama’s have two dogs – Bo and Sunny – …

My top 10 gadgets from CES 2016

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent in Las Vegas So, that’s it! CES 2016 is over. And what a rip roaring, battery sapping, shoe wearing, geek fest it truly was. After years of following it from afar, this was my first time attending – also my first visit to Vegas. And in many ways both are very similar. Loud, bright, brash, innovative, attract more than a normal fair share of oddballs, and motivated by one thing – huge amounts …

Don’t let job projects become political footballs

What can only be described as a remarkable economic recovery is well under way. Also under way is the stampede of Government politicians attempting to take credit for it. Some observers are sceptical about the flurry of good economic news in the twilight weeks of the current Fine Gael and Labour coalition. They are right to be sceptical. As the battle for votes cranks up, and figures are brandished like calling cards by Government politicians, the public may find it …

Exchequer returns – what went right?

The exchequer returns for 2015 show a much improved situation – even from that presented on budget day, last October, never mind the one revealed just a few weeks after the Troika deal was signed at the end of 2010. The exchequer account – effectively the cash-in, cash-out record – is as good as balanced:  total revenues of €58.59 billion, total net spending of €58.65 billion.  The difference between them is a mere €62 million. This compares to an €8.1 …

CES 2016 – Five things to expect

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent Some know it as Sin City.  Others as the Gambling Capital of the World.  But what’s less widely known is that in the first week of January every year Las Vegas also becomes the tech capital of the world.  Because Vegas is home to CES, the world’s largest annual gathering of the consumer electronics industry.  The place where tech developers, buyers, investors, enthusiasts, analysts and journalists converge to see what’s hot, what’s trending, …