Analysis

That €6.75 billion spending increase – a back-of-the envelope first take

The leaked draft programme for government says the new government will spend €6.75 billion more on services by 2021 than it plans to spend this year. What does this mean? Are they talking about the dreaded fiscal space? Michael Noonan told the Dáil last week that the fiscal space has gone up from €8.6 billion before the election, to somewhere north of €10 billion now. Taking the draft programmes 2:1 spending to tax cuts ratio suggests €3.4 billion in tax …

The little fish get named and shamed – others get lawyers

It seems ironic that after a banking collapse and a string of insurance failures that the only person named as failing a fitness and probity test was working for a Co Tipperary brokerage. This week the Central Bank issued a notice prohibiting Darren Gleeson from carrying out certain functions in a regulated company. Mr Gleeson of Portroe in Nenagh is well known as a former All Ireland medal winning hurler. Until last year he was a director of Quinlan Financial …

Multi-denominational school places in demand

Firhouse Educate Together National School is three years old. With 76 pupils, the school is currently in temporary prefab accommodation, as is the new Gaelscoil next door. This year, for the second year running, the school has asked the Department of Education for permission to fill not just one but two junior infant classes in September. But as yet – and time is fast running out – they have not received the go ahead from the Department of Education. The demand is clear. At …

Scary movie – Brussels style

Holy Moly – the latest economic forecast from the European Commission is one of the scariest I have seen from any major forecaster for some time. You want me to be more precise – OK, what about 2009? That’s the last time the global economy was growing as slowly as it is now. As for the risk of something bad blowing up, like it did back then, well have a look at this line from Marco Buti, the top Eurocrat …

Screaming in fiscal space

Nobody outside Leinster house seemed to be too bothered by the prospect of the next government (or governments – however many it takes to reach the end of the forecast period in 2021) having an extra €2bn to play with. But it seems they do, thanks to a largely expected expansion of our old friend, the fiscal space. The Department of Finance published a “slimline” version of the Stability Programme Update on Tuesday night, giving the expected update on its …

Irish Water deal muddies prospects of fixing leaks

Whatever the arguments in favour of accepting Fianna Fáil’s demands for suspending water charges, it is abundantly clear some Fine Gael ministers believe it was not in the public interest. Taoiseach Enda Kenny decided acquiescing to Fianna Fáil’s stipulations to suspend for nine months was better than calling a second general election. But by opting to halt paying for water a Rubicon has been crossed. It will now be a political nightmare to resume charging and any government will have …

The public finances without a Government

By Sean Whelan, Economics Correspondent By the end of this week, the government is supposed to have sent the European Commission a document called the ‘Stability Programme Update’. Although this requirement has been around for some two decades, it is only with the onset of the financial crisis that the wider public started to pay it much attention. In fact the SPU, as it is know, is probably the most important budget document apart from the Budget itself. 

Time to sanction Garda right to strike?

Next week, members of the Garda Representative Association will meet in Killarney against the backdrop of huge unrest in the force over pay and conditions. The GRA meeting has been preceded by district gatherings, most notably in Cork, where members have said that their pay and conditions, particularly for new entrants is unsustainable. New Gardaí are paid €23,000 per annum and have lost an allowance for rent which was worth over €4000 a year. In fact, Gardaí say their salaries …

How to manage a minority – the rules of engagement

As Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil edge closer to a deal on minority government the members of the 32nd Dáil are attempting to get their heads around how such an arrangement would work in practice. If agreed, the Framework Document will set out in detail the ground rules for how the government and the opposition must behave in order to allow this new political reality to function. It will require a massive shift in political culture. Our politicians have been …

Is the EU’s stance on Google Android really best for consumers?

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent Listening to the press conference of the EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, you would think Google hadn’t a leg to stand on. The EU has formally served the internet giant with a Statement of Objections over alleged anti-competitive practices around its Android operating system. And the case it has laid out, on the face of it, seems pretty compelling. Anti-trust regulators claim the dominance of the software in the smartphone market – 80% …

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