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Friday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - October 31, 2014
By Finfacts Team
Oct 31, 2014 - 10:50 AM

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Irish Independent

Ireland's most expensive house, the ownership of which has been linked to bust developer Sean Dunne, is now in a derelict state.

A planning appeals hearing heard evidence of broken windows, problems with the roof, and a conservatory that is "coming apart" at Walford on Dublin's Shrewsbury Road.

Two marble fireplaces and other fittings have also been stolen from the Edwardian-era mansion, which became the most expensive home in the history of the State when it was bought by Mr Dunne's wife, former gossip columnist Gayle Killilea, for €58m in 2005.

Mr Dunne said he gifted his wife the money for the purchase.

The property was sold last year to a mysterious Cypriot-registered company whose beneficial owner has not been revealed.

TECHNOLOGY giant Apple has warned its shareholders that it may have to pay back tax to Ireland following a European Commission State-aid probe.

It also told investors in the company that such a move could hit Apple's bottom line.

While it is not clear how much money could be involved, Apple has made nearly $70bn in profits from operations that are not US-based and haven't been subjected to corporation there.

Some of these operations are "organised in Ireland."

The 10k statement filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on October 27, says: "for example, the European Commission opened a formal investigation to examine whether decisions by the tax authorities in Ireland with regard to the corporate income tax to be paid by two of the Company’s Irish subsidiaries comply with European Union rules on state aid.

THE Irish Water debate is rambling along but as it is we're missing one major point.

Giving the contract to a private company would be beneficial to the taxpayer and the system in the longer run. While many believe that private companies running public utilities is simply a bad idea, it's certainly something that should be considered.

Irish Times

The National Museum of Ireland was last night considering radical proposals to deal with a funding crisis, including closing of some of its sites from January or introducing entry charges.

The museum is due to receive funding of €11.3 million in 2015, equivalent to its 2014 allocation. However, it is understood the museum believes this will be insufficient to cover its running costs and services next year.

The criteria for choosing new directors for the merged board to take over responsibility for Irish Water will be “somewhat elevated” from previous appointments to the semi-State, according to Coalition sources.

The new board - to be created by merging the current boards of Ervia, formerly Bord Gáis, and Irish Water - will also be expected to increase public confidence in the semi-State after months of controversy and questions over how the company operated and communicated its message.

It is expected there will be substantial change to the line up of directors when the new board is announced at the end of the month.

“Beware Germans bearing gifts.” That was the sarcastic remark of one reader of The Irish Times website on November 14 last when the Government announced it would leave its EU-IMF programme without a financial rescue net.

Speaking in the Dáil, Taoiseach Enda Kenny announced something else entirely: Ireland’s cash-starved small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) could look forward to a windfall of German-backed low-interest loans.

Mr Kenny had secured a political commitment from German chancellor Angela Merkel for Germany’s state-owned development bank, the KfW, to deliver “swiftly” on a loan to Ireland, with “concrete results” promised “as soon as possible”.

Irish Examiner

Britain’s government published proposals to give the Bank of England new legal powers to control residential mortgage lending yesterday, but said it wanted more evidence before deciding on a BoE request to regulate lending to landlords.

The proposals are in line with finance minister George Osborne’s desire to give the BoE greater oversight of residential mortgage lending to reduce the risk that the housing market could overheat and destabilise Britain’s economy.

“The government is proposing that the Bank is granted powers of direction for loan-to-value limits and debt-to-income limits for owner-occupied mortgages,” Osborne said.

Europe

Euro Topics:  Hungary's governing Fidesz party has remained intransigent in the wake of mass protests at the planned introduction of an Internet tax. The tax will not be repealed, a spokesman said. Such arrogance could be the government's downfall, commentators write, viewing the protests as an expression of the dissatisfaction of many Hungarians with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

Symbol of the frustration of the young: The protest against the Internet tax has become a symbol of a disillusioned generation's rejection of the entire political elite, the conservative Hungarian weekly Heti Válasz comments: "It looks as if the Internet tax will be the first acid test for the Orbán government. The protest movement against the tax is not just about the fact that Hungarian households with Internet access would have to pay a couple of hundred more forint [or a few euros] each month. That's the least of the problems. The Internet tax has become a symbol of the people's dissatisfaction with government policy and an incompetent opposition. The predominantly 20 to 30-year-old demonstrators want to send the following message: Hungary is not a place where you can live a good life right now."

German road toll still a mistake after modifications: German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt of the CSU has revised his road toll plans and now wants to charge non-German residents only for using the country's motorways. The conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung takes an amused look at what's left of the once ambitious plans: "The piquant aspect for the smallest governing party [the CSU] is that it was not the unloved social democrats who cut its showcase project down to size, but its sister party the CDU. [CSU chairman and Bavarian prime minister] Seehofer's squire [Dobrindt] can't ride into Munich as the glorious victor. Because even the most basic flaws in the toll have not been resolved: it brings in too little money and it stands a good chance of being copied in countries like Belgium or the Netherlands, where even some inhabitants of beautiful Bavaria may stray from time to time. And of course what's now emerged is an administrative framework which could be used later on to introduce a road toll that raises enough cash to remove more than just the political potholes - in any case then German drivers would also have to pay."

London and Bern not really united on immigration: British Prime Minister David Cameron is considering introducing immigration quotas for EU citizens, according to media reports. For Switzerland, which has already requested a renegotiation of the free movement of persons with the EU, Cameron's move is advantageous only at first glance, the liberal-conservative daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung writes: "If Cameron is successful in getting other EU states on his side, the disagreements with Switzerland may also be resolved. Bern could have discreetly waited to see how the conflict between London and Brussels developed if the initiators hadn't set a three-year deadline for the mass immigration initiative, thus weakening Switzerland's negotiating position. Now Switzerland is under pressure, and its call for negotiations on the free movement of persons threatens to become a test case for how the EU will deal with the demands from London. This, however, would put Switzerland at a disadvantage, as it would make it even more difficult for the hardliners in the EU Commission and among the EU member states to show a willingness to compromise with Switzerland."


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