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Thursday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - October 02, 2014
By Finfacts Team
Oct 2, 2014 - 12:09 PM

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Irish Independent

There is more gas in the Corrib gas field off the west coast than originally estimated, new data shows.

Commercial gas is finally set to come onshore from the field off the Co Mayo coast in the middle of next year after a series of delays.

The partners in the project, Shell, Statoil and Vermilion are now expected to spend an additional €300m on the project this year to bring the total spend so far to €3.4bn by the end of this year.

Now, new accounts filed by one of the partners in the Corrib Gas project, Canadian-based firm, Vermilion Energy Ireland Ltd show that the volume of gas at peak production will be 8pc more than originally believed.

Some 750,000 people who are members of private sector pension schemes are being impacted by the controversial levy. And it is taking in more than expected by the Government, insurance giant Standard Life said.

The levy is set to reap around €2bn from pension savers by the end of this year, Jim Connolly of Standard Life said.

This is €350m more than the Department of Finance estimated it would get from the charge.

"Given the levy's take is well in excess of its target and we are told there is room for manoeuvre in this year's Budget, now might be a good time to give back to the 'squeezed middle' and all these people who have suffered disproportionately.

France laid down the gauntlet to European Union partners yesterday with a 2015 budget setting out how it would bring its borrowing back to within EU limits two years later than promised, a retreat it blamed on a fragile economy.

The announcement from Paris came hours after news that Italy too planned to ease the pace of painful deficit-reduction steps to try to counter another year of recession.

"We have taken the decision to adapt the pace of deficit reduction to the economic situation of the country," French Finance Minister Michel Sapin told a news conference. "Our economic policy is not changing, but the deficit will be reduced more slowly than planned due to economic circumstances - very weak growth and very weak inflation."

Under the French budget plan, the public deficit is set to fall from 4.4pc of output this year to 4.3pc next year, 3.8pc in 2016 and 2.8pc in 2017 - below the EU-mandated threshold of 3pc.

Irish Times

UCD has fallen out of the world’s top 200 universities in a prestigious global league table, just three years after it dropped out of the top 100.

The sharp decline in the university’s performance has led to renewed calls for a reversal of cuts to higher education.

Tom Boland, chief executive of the Higher Education Authority said: “There should be no doubt that we are now at a tipping point. The global university rankings, for all their flaws, reflect international perceptions and we should take note of concerns that our universities are not in a position to compete.”

When you’ve had the flu for several days, and the raging fever begins to abate, you may tell people that you’re feeling ‘better’, but you won’t be recovered until your temperature returns to normal and you’ve got your strength back. Likewise with the economy. But what’s normal for the economy?

Ireland declined so much in the crash that, even after the four straight quarters of growth it’s just had, total incomes are still more than 5 per cent down on the peak in 2007, and after-tax incomes are down around 15 per cent. The country has regained about 75,000 jobs since , but it’s still 270,000 down on its best year. So Ireland is recovering, but not recovered.

So why aren’t the Irish on the streets like the Greeks or the Spanish? At least part of the answer is that it hasn’t been so bad for us: our austerity followed an extraordinary spurt of short-term growth. Reduced as they are this year, household incomes per person after tax are still higher than they were in 2002 – a pretty good year for many people, a year when the Fianna Fáil\PD coalition was the first Irish government in 33 years to be re-elected.

Chris Johns: Pre-budget hysteria rises inexorably year by year. And with it comes a fall in the quality of proper analysis. The debate has become increasingly juvenile; I think we have reached a new milestone in terms of the extent to which partisan, naked lobbying on behalf of narrow, sectional, interests, dominates our discussion.

There are many and various aspects to all of this. But it is best encapsulated by the division over whether or not Ireland is a ‘high tax country’. The infantile nature of the question says it all.

Data is used selectively and is often tortured until the ‘right’ answer emerges. The true complexity of the underlying issues are rarely addressed: lobbyists on behalf of people who don’t pay much tax (and, correspondingly, are the biggest beneficiaries of other people’s taxes) always, without exception, claim that we are a nation of low tax payers; this is enough to prove the logical corollary that existing taxpayers need to pay more.

Irish Examiner

Cork is losing out on substantial foreign direct investment due to insufficient technology infrastructure, according to a leading technology expert.

The region needs a data centre that can cope with the demands of indigenous local and foreign multinational businesses if further foreign direct investment is to be secured.

The construction of such a centre would require significant state funding but could be supplemented by industry, according to it@cork chairman, Denis Collins.

“[With] cloud, you need to have servers, you need to have hardware and software working together. In order to have that, they need to be stored somewhere... if you build that [data centre], large companies will come and put their footprint [in Cork]. A lot more multinationals will come, they’ll spring up. Also more indigenous and more small and medium enterprises will come,” Mr Collins said at the Global Cork Economic Forum. Such investment would offer the possibility of branding the city as a cloud and data security capital, similar to Barcelona’s designation as the ‘mobile capital’ of Europe.

Europe

Euro Topics: The Turkish government is waiting to receive the go ahead from parliament today to take military action against the IS in Syria and Iraq. Ankara has the right to protect itself from the terrorist militia, some commentators believe. Others suspect Turkey of pursuing its own interests in neighbouring countries.

Turkish safe zone in Syria controversial: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's proposal for setting up a "safe zone" in Northern Syria is controversial in the Arab World, the left-liberal Austrian daily Der Standard explains: "In Western media Turkey's plans are seen in the context of the expansion of the anti-IS alliance, in which Turkey can now take full part after the release of its hostages by the IS. However it's not possible to understand the significance - and potential repercussions - of a Turkish intervention in Syria without looking at the Arabic media. There the idea that Turkey is cooperating with the IS to claim part of Syria for itself is practically mainstream. In this respect the media of the Gulf states - which take an antagonistic view of the Assad regime - suddenly sound exactly like the Syrian state media: neo-Ottoman plans for launching a colonialist attack on Arab land. The fact that the Turkish parliament's authorisation would also extend to Iraq incites fears regarding Mossul - which the Turks lost after World War I."

Apple tax case puts Ireland in a bad light: The European Commission's investigation into the tax deal Ireland gave US company Apple is very detrimental to Ireland's status as a business location, The Irish Times complains: "The uncertainty that surrounds the outcome of the state aid case could have a negative effect on the State's ability to attract inward investment. An adverse finding against the State in the Apple case could prompt the commission to investigate the Irish tax arrangements of other multinational companies - such as Google. Ireland remains highly dependent on the multinational sector, both for jobs and for tax revenues ... Ireland's financial reputation would be badly tarnished, and its ability to attract large overseas investment greatly diminished."

Josep Oliver Alonso on the broken dream of a mutually supportive Europe: The EU as a mutually supportive community? This idea was nothing but a dream from which Spain has now been rudely awakened, economist Josep Oliver Alonso comments in the left-liberal daily El Periódico de Catalunya: "The crisis has woken us from a long and deep sleep, from a sweet illusion about the true nature of the EU. It has been a rude awakening and left us with a terrible feeling of loneliness. ... The myth of a united and mutually supportive Europe is deeply embedded in our collective consciousness. Both the democratic boost and the financial aid Spain received from the EU in recent decades contributed to this myth. But as the gap between what we asked for and what we received [during the crisis] demonstrates, this idea was always an illusion. This Europe of powerful states continues to be, to our detriment, an amalgamation of strategic interests, social models, cultural ideas and disparate economic strengths and weaknesses. ... The long recession has shown us that although we are not alone and receive important support, in the end we must rely on our own abilities to confront the enormous challenges we face."


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