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Monday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - September 01, 2014
By Finfacts Team
Sep 1, 2014 - 8:47 AM

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Irish Independent

Dublin needs to build as many as 30 additional hotels between now and 2020 to handle the expected growth in tourism and business travel, according to the head of the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC).

The capital needs as many as 5,000 additional bedrooms - equal to between 20 and 30 large new hotels, according to Eamonn McKeon, chief executive of the ITIC, the representative body for the tourism industry.

The need for extra rooms will surprise many. Nationally, the hotel sector has suffered from over supply because of so called zombie hotels since the crash, after hundreds of often tax break driven properties were built across the country in the boom.

Eamonn McKeon said some of those hotels are in places visitors don't want to be.

"Tourists want to be in the city centre. The scarcity is in the central Dublin 1, 2 and 4 (postcode) areas. People who have travelled want to be able to walk," Eamonn McKeon told the Irish Independent.

Industries worst hit by the recession, including manufacturing and motoring, are beginning to recover according to new data, with rates of insolvency in decline.

The number of new businesses being launched is up sharply across all sectors.

There were 983 new companies formed in August - up 8.4pc on the same period last year.

It breaks down as 38 start-ups launched every day last month.

Construction, real estate and finance are seeing a significant increase in the number of new company start-ups.

That's according to research by Vision-net, a company that provides credit and business information and analysis to industry.

Penalties of up to €7,200 for people who have not paid the second-home tax are "inevitably going to be challenged in court," a campaigner against the fines has insisted.

The new penalties kick in today for people who did not pay arrears of the €200 per year flat-rate tax, which ran from 2009 to 2013, before being replaced by local property tax based on value. A partial amnesty which has frozen the €20 per month penalty since last March ended at midnight and new super penalties, including a 50pc increase, now apply.

But Senator Fidelma Healy-Eames of Galway West again denounced the new penalties as "wholly disproportionate". She is now convinced the fines scheme will be challenged.

"This is all so grossly unfair that challenges before the courts are inevitable. I firmly believe that the judges may very well take a different view of these arbitrary and excessive penalties," the Reform Alliance Senator said.

Irish Times

Ireland is interested in securing an EU commissionership related to jobs, investment and growth, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said this weekend, suggesting that Phil Hogan may be in the running for a portfolio other than agriculture when the European Commission portfolios are allocated as early as this week.

Speaking on his way into an EU summit in Brussels on Saturday Mr Kenny said he had raised Ireland’s case with the incoming European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker at a pre-summit European People’s Party meeting on Saturday. “Obviously [Mr Juncker] is going to make the appointments, and he made it clear at the last council meeting that this will be a commission appointed by him. I did say to him that Ireland would be interested in a commissionership that would be related to jobs, investment and growth,” the Taoiseach said, adding that both he, and Ireland generally, have enjoyed strong working relations with Mr Juncker

Irish manufacturing expanded at the fastest rate since 1999 in August, a survey showed on Monday, as a surge in new orders offered further evidence that the economy is recovering steadily.

The country has seen a string of positive data in recent months and analysts forecast that the economy will grow 3 per cent this year after two years of near stagnation.

The Investec Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to a 15-year high of 57.3 in August from 55.4 in July, well above the 50 line dividing expansion from contraction and representing the 15th straight month of growth.

Finfacts: Irish manufacturing PMI at 42-month high; Official data up 3.4% since 2010Irish manufacturing PMI at 42-month high; Official data up 3.4% since 2010

More than 10,000 people are expected to attend a jobs expo in Dublin this week, with positions in engineering, sales, nursing, construction, IT and teaching on offer.

Qatar-based Hamad Medical Corporation is looking to fill jobs in the areas of bio-medical engineering, occupational therapy, dietetics, physiotherapy and healthcare information management.

Height for Hire is seeking to hire service engineers, HGV drivers and area sales managers among other positions, while UK teaching agency is looking for classroom teaching assistants, primary school teachers and qualified nursery nurses.

Irish companies including Innopharma Labs, Wisetek and Hot Press will also be exhibiting at the event.

Irish Examiner

Vodafone has been accused of restrictive competition practices by a former Greek partner of the telecommunications group.

Vodafone Group Plc has been accused of direct violations of applicable competition laws by Mobile Trade Stores.

According to the lawyers of Mobile Trade Stores, who are now seeking an intervention by relevant authorities in the EU and Greece on the way in which Vodafone is running its franchise operations across Europe, the case could have a major impact on the way in which Vodafone operates in Europe, including Ireland.

A spokesperson for Mobile Trade Stores said: “The Mobile Trade Stores legal team believes there is prima facie evidence of very serious, hardcore restrictions of competition. The negative consequences of these restrictions have persisted over years.”

Vodafone is being accused by Mobile Trade Stores and chairman Athanasios Papistas of having undertaken a deliberate anti-competitive culture against its franchises in Greece, leading to the gradual termination of the operation of his Vodafone-franchised retail outlets.

Europe

Euro Topics:  Russia follows different logic to Europe: The different business models in Russia and Europe make it difficult for European leaders to hit back at Vladimir Putin, the liberal Austrian daily De Standaard observes: "Europe's mercantile-based logic assumes that the pursuit of prosperity automatically brings about development. ... Freedom and democracy bring progress and growth. This idealism led Europe to support the charming revolution in Kiev nine months ago. But Putin is made of different stuff. He fosters the nationalism that feeds on his offended pride. The former superpower must be restored. And for that it must suffer, also economically, and violence is also legitimate. ... Europe is using weapons against this behaviour that hurt its own interests - this is increasingly clear. The sanctions are now costing the Eurozone 0.2 percent in growth. ... In an economic war Europe's leaders stand to lose more than Putin does."

French should finally work more hours: France's new Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said in an interview on Thursday that companies may be exempted from enforcing France's 35-hour week, in cooperation with the unions. It should be scrapped entirely, the conservative daily Le Figaro argues: "The idea behind reducing the number of working hours was to create jobs and improve the quality of life. Fifteen years later we know better: France is in the grips of mass unemployment and the situation has never been worse. Like our culture, the 35-hour week is seen as a French particularity that must be protected at all cost. This is completely crazy. If France wants to regain its place in the global competition it has no choice but to break with this taboo that increases both labour costs and deficits. The countries where unemployment is the lowest are those where people work the longest on average. Activity creates jobs."

Germany leading the Balkans into the EU: At the Conference of Western Balkan States German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed the "European perspectives" of the former Yugoslavian states but warned that they must make progress with reforms and strengthen regional cooperation first. Under pressure from the Ukraine crisis and Croatia's and Slovenia's failures, Germany has now undertaken to lead the Balkan states into the EU, the left-liberal Croatian  daily Novi List comments: "Germany is telling Zagreb and Llubljana that it has had enough of their flimsy excuses and unproductive struggle for dominance of the region. Croatia was expected to actively support Serbia and Bosnia on their path to EU membership, but the EU's newest member has failed utterly. This raises the question of whether Croatia, a total failure economically, has any real clout in the region."


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