Wednesday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - August 13, 2014
By Finfacts Team
Aug 13, 2014 - 9:34 AM

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Irish Independent

RECORD numbers of Leaving Certificate candidates who pushed themselves to take ‘honours’ maths have been rewarded in today’s results.

An unprecedented 14,326 students sat the higher-level exam, almost double the number who took it before the 25-point incentive for a minimum grade D was rolled out in 2012.

And the gamble paid off for the 96pc of those candidates who achieved at least a D grade.

Now US multinationals say lessons must be learned from the success of the maths bonus – and they want to see a points incentive extended to science subjects.

David McWilliams: The Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) statistics show monthly rents have increased in all Dublin areas this year, with Dublin 9 the hardest hit, by an annual increase of 12.7pc. The average rent across the city has risen to €1,089 per month.

This is causing what I would describe as a "renters' panic" as people try to out-bid each other to find a place to live, so much so that the experts think that rents will go up by 20-25pc in the next 12 months.

One way of preventing the sudden knock on the door would be a stipulation, which is the norm in Austria and Germany, that the landlord can serve a notice to quit but must give 12 to 24 months' notice. When families are involved, this notice period should be much longer. The long-term solution is to build many more social houses - or council houses as they were known when I was a boy.

DAVY Stockbrokers has called for a smaller budget 2015 adjustment of €500m and has raised its gross domestic product prediction for this year to 3.5pc from 2.5pc.

The broker has also said the unemployment rate will fall to 9.6pc next year, it is currently just above 11pc.

The upbeat report also predicts that the recovery will be more broad-based as consumer spending and investment growth accelerate.

"We expect the government deficit will fall to 2.9pc of GDP next year based on a €500m adjustment in Budget 2015," said Conal MacCoille, chief economist at Davy Stockbrokers.

Irish Times

Entry requirements for engineering, business and several other popular courses are expected to rise this year after a record number of students gained bonus points for higher level maths in the Leaving Cert.

Some 27 per cent of students took the higher paper, up from 16 per cent in 2011. With more than 95 per cent passing the exam, there will be 13,660 students earning 25 bonus points for CAO courses, nearly 1,100 more than last year.

A 2.4 per cent increase in the overall number of students sitting the Leaving Cert this year to 56,990 will also edge up college entry requirements, as will a rise in demand for courses linked to growing sectors of the economy.

Michael O’Flynn has today written to Carbon Finance Ltd, a subsidiary of Blackstone, to inform the American multibillion investment fund that he can repay it his personal loans.

In a statement the Cork developer said he had informed Blackstone that he had “funds available” not only to “immediately repay” a loan of €16.7 million it had demanded from him but also to repay in full all of his personal borrowings which total €24.9 million. Mr O’Flynn declined to comment on the source of this funding.

Carbon Finance had last month sought to appoint receivers over some of Mr O’Flynn’s properties when it believed that he was not in a position to repay his personal loans.

The Blackstone subsidiary acquired €1.8 billion in loans secured against the Cork-based O’Flynn Construction group from the National Asset Management Agency, in May for €1.1 billion.

The deal made it the business’s principal creditor, giving it the power to call in the security for those debts, namely the group’s assets and companies.

Newstalk, the radio station owned by Denis O’Brien, has complained to the European Commission that RTÉ’s use of licence fee funds is in breach of EU rules on State aid.

RTÉ’s commercial activities are “not being carried out on market terms”, the station claims.

The lodging of the complaint follows a row that erupted between Newstalk and RTÉ earlier this year when RTÉ declined to run an advertisement for its rival on the basis that the submitted ad was in breach of its guidelines. Newstalk responded by making a complaint to the Competition Authority.

Irish Examiner

Ireland could make an annual saving of €375m after confirmation from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that loans provided as part of the troika package can be repaid early without incurring any additional fees.

The plan, originally mooted by Finance Minister Michael Noonan last month, would see the government repay almost €18bn in debt, thus reducing the total amount below the threshold at which costly surcharges are applied.

Speaking last month, Mr Noonan said that by repaying €15bn of the more than €22bn the government owes to the IMF, the country could save up to €375m a year.

Confirmation from the IMF, which along with the European Commission and European Central Bank make up the troika, that early repayment would not entail any charges or conditions was yesterday released by Fianna Fáil finance spokesperson, Michael McGrath, following receipt of a letter from IMF mission chief for Ireland, Craig Beaumont.


Euro Topics: Crisis brings Italians together: The economic crisis has made it difficult for many Italians to go on holiday abroad so that old holiday traditions are making a comeback, the liberal-conservative Italian daily Corriere della Sera observes: "For many Italians, going back to childhood holiday destinations isn't romanticism but a strict necessity. The little house beside the sea and the cabin in the mountains were once parental investments. ... Now parents increasingly share them with their children, grandchildren and their grandchildren's friends. That's the only holiday option left open; everything else is too expensive. The roads and beaches are increasingly full of swollen families clearly forced by necessity to holiday together. But these are happy encounters. In Italy miracles are born of love and need."

René Cuperus demands more belligerence for the 21st century: Europe must bid farewell to it pacifist stance in view of the wars in Iraq, Ukraine and Syria, cultural historian René Cuperus writes in the left-liberal Dutch daily De Volkskrant: "In our well-meaning naiveté we thought that wars, violence and conflicts of a political and cultural nature had ended with European unity. That permanent peace had been established. That all men were brothers. Above all Germany developed a pacifist attitude after the horrors of the world wars and the Holocaust. The Germans defected from Mars to Venus in droves. Israel drew the very opposite conclusion from history. ... Like the Americans. They too are unconditionally determined to protect US citizens around the world. But what the Americans and Israelis have too much of is sorely lacking in Europe. Courageous resolve, even when the going gets tough and the time comes to fight. ... The 21 century will demand more courage - and more belligerence."

EU must mitigate embargo through subsidies: Nectarine and peach growers and other producers of stone fruits in the EU are to receive compensation for the losses incurred as a result of the Russian trade embargo. EU Agricultural Commissioner Dacian Ciolos held out the prospect of special payments on Monday. The conservative Spanish daily ABC welcomes the measure: "The EU must withstand the pressure from Moscow and show that it is able to mitigate the negative economic impact of Putin's blackmailing. European farmers must not become innocent victims of this situation, held hostage by Russia in an attempt to force Brussels to withdraw the sanctions. ... At the same time the agricultural industry must respond by opening up new markets, just as the countries of central Europe must seek alternatives to the energy supplies from Russia in case Putin turns off the gas supply in the winter."

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