Tuesday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - August 19, 2014
By Finfacts Team
Aug 19, 2014 - 3:59 AM

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Irish Independent

A dole fraudster flew back and forth from Malaga to Cork to illegally sign on, pocketing more than €6,000, an investigation has found.

The crook was one of dozens of people caught in a Department of Social Protection crackdown on 'welfare tourism'.

He committed the fraud on dozens of occasions over a six-month period, returning to the Spanish city each time.

In another example provided by the department, a man fraudulently claimed social welfare to fund his lifestyle in Poland. He was fined €1,500 and has now repaid the money.

Health Minister Leo Varadkar has turned down a request to spend 12 hours on a shift at one of the country's busiest hospitals.

Staff at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda say the Minister can only get to grips with the crisis in the health system by seeing what happens himself.

However, the minister, a qualified doctor, told the Irish Independent he can't take up the offer for insurance reasons.

"There would of course be issues of privacy and confidentiality for patients who may not want a politician in a clinical area while they are sick," said the Minister.

Bank of Scotland has mounted a legal bid to seize bust developer Sean Dunne's former home on Ireland's most exclusive street.

The lender last night asked a US court to lift restrictions it currently faces so it can foreclose on the €4m mansion on Dublin's Shrewsbury Road.

The property, called Ouragh, was built by Dunne in 2002 and he lived there with his wife, socialite turned property developer Gayle Killilea, until 2007.

It was subsequently rented to the South African Embassy, but with that lease due to run out at the end of this month, Bank of Scotland is now seeking to seize control of the property.

The lender, which pulled out of the Irish market four years ago, is prevented from doing so after Dunne filed for bankruptcy with debts of €695m.

Irish Times

Hope offered by experimental cancer treatments abroad is “unrealistic” and, in some cases, may harm children, two leading childhood cancer specialists have warned.

Consultant Prof Owen Smith and oncologist Dr Michael Capra of Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin, Dublin, said they fear parents of seriously sick children are being “exploited”.

The perception that treatments abroad can offer hope to very sick children is not unique to Ireland, Dr Capra said.

The recent pullback in global equities has been a relatively modest affair, but Merrill Lynch’s latest monthly fund manager survey indicates investors are more spooked than at any time over the last two years.

Geopolitical tensions have catalysed a flight from risk, with a net 27 per cent of professionals now overweight in cash, up from 12 per cent in July, and cash accounting for 5.1 per cent of global portfolios.

Both readings are the highest since June 2012, while the number of investors hedging against sharp equity falls is at its highest since the dark days of October 2008.

The euro zone economy is expected grow more slowly than initially expected during the rest of this year as conflicts in Ukraine and elsewhere weigh on business confidence, Germany’s central bank said today.

The euro zone economy unexpectedly stalled in the second quarter, dragged down by shrinking growth in Germany and a stagnant France, leading to renewed calls for the European Central Bank to provide more stimulus, such as large-scale asset purchases.

The ECB cut interest rates to record lows and launched a fresh round of ultra-cheap loans in June, which the Bundesbank said was “justifiable, on the whole”.

But the German central bank also warned about overheating financial or property markets, and the risk of minimising governments’ incentives to reform their economies.

Irish Examiner

There has been no discussions between the Irish Central Bank and any US banks about a possible relocation to Dublin if the UK leaves the EU, according to sources.

The Financial Times newspaper has reported over the past few days that a number of big US banks that have European headquarters in London could potentially move to Dublin if the UK leaves the EU following a referendum planned for 2017.

The Central Bank declined to comment on the piece. However, a source close to the Central Bank said there has been no discussions between the Irish regulator and US banks on this issue.

The FT piece also claimed that “Dublin is selling itself very hard at the moment” in efforts to attract business from London. But a spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs said it was not government policy to canvass financial institutions to relocate to Dublin. British prime minister, David Cameron, has pledged to hold a referendum on UK’s EU membership in 2017 if the Conservative Party is re-elected following the 2015 general election. A number of lobby groups, including the influential British Bankers’ Association have warned that a ‘Brexit’ would have hugely damaging consequences for the City of London as a financial services centre.


Euro Topics: Poland doing too little for Ukraine: The foreign ministers of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine met in Berlin on Sunday for five-hour talks on the Ukraine crisis. In Warsaw there was criticism that the Polish foreign minister wasn't invited. The conservative Polish daily Rzeczpospolita doesn't agree: "Polish society doubtless has friendly ties with Ukraine. Because for a long time now there hasn't been such a spontaneous outburst of sympathy regarding any of our neighbours. But does this also apply to our government? An example: Hungary allegedly delivered weapons to Kiev last week. Apparently even tanks, at least according to the Russian foreign ministry. But our government is only willing to send bullet-proof vests and helmets. Absolutely ridiculous compared to tanks, or not? Do we really need to ask why we should be invited and not the Hungarians now?"

Don't politicise Sinterklaas celebrations: Amsterdam's Mayor Eberhard van der Laan has appealed against a ruling by an administrative court that describes "Zwarte Piet", the black helper of the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas or Saint Nicolas, as a racist caricature. The left-liberal Dutch daily De Volkskrant warns against politicising the Sinterklaas celebrations, which take place in early December: "These severe accusations cast a shadow on this unique children's festival, which thrives on a sense of playfulness. Politicising the tradition is the last thing children need. Sint and Piet are there for all children, and for that reason must make allowances for the secularised and multi-ethnic society that the Netherlands has become in the last half century. Piet has long since stopped being the dumb, subservient vassal he once was. And by the same token, Sint cares little about his boss in the Vatican. It's a good thing if these two change with the times. And also if they can do something to counter the real unease among dark-skinned Dutch citizens."

BND spying proves conspiracy against Turkey: According to the German news magazine Der Spiegel Germany's Federal Intelligence Service the BND has had Nato partner Turkey under surveillance since 2009. For the pro-government Turkish daily Yeni Şafak this confirms long-held suspicions: "Anyone who has followed this subject closely knows how active the German intelligence service is in our country. In particular certain tensions between Germany and Turkey in the last year should be seen from this perspective. The German intelligence service was one of the forces that was very active in the organisation and implementation of the Gezi Park protests. So we can safely assume that Germany is involved in the conspiracies against the Erdoğan government. If we look more closely at the bugging operations of the NSA, the Gülen movement and the BND, we see that they can't be considered as independent of each other but as part of a whole. The bugging operations are part of a global espionage project."

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