Monday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - November 03, 2014
By Finfacts Team
Nov 3, 2014 - 8:11 AM

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Irish Independent

A MAJOR agency for the unemployed is concerned at a "harsh" government plan to make jobless people post their CVs online or face losing their benefits.

The Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed warned the measure to axe dole payments to those who do not cooperate must not be used as a threat, especially against those who are not well versed in IT.

Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection, Kevin Humphreys, has revealed that the plan is being introduced next year. He said the department has to ensure jobseekers are doing everything they can to get back to work.

The move is part of a revamp of the old Fas website, now run by Solas, to allow employers search the Live Register for job candidates.

TONY O'Reilly's commitment to Waterford Wedgwood as he battled to prevent the company from collapse resulted in his financial ruin, according to friends and colleagues of Ireland's one-time richest man.

The son of the businessman and rugby legend, Tony O'Reilly Junior, says his father felt "obliged" to fight for the workers at the Waterford Crystal producer and that he continues to regret the effect the collapse had on the staff.

"He is very upset and particularly anguished that, you know, ultimately when the business went into administration it meant that some of the pensions and the benefits that the workers would have had would have been lost. And he wasn't there in the end to be able to stop it," O'Reilly Junior says in an RTE documentary, which airs tonight at 9.35pm.

The programme, called 'Tony O'Reilly - The Real Deal', examines the tycoon's life and career.

The opening week of any month is always fascinating for those trying to take the economic temperature and this week is no exception.

Here is Ireland, we have manufacturing and services PMIs along with the Exchequer figures and the latest live register data. In Brussels we have two days of meetings by European finance ministers while the European Central Bank meets in Frankfurt to discuss how to breathe life into the Eurozone and whether to release that letter from Jean Claude Trichet.

In short, there will be many clues on the condition of the Eurozone economy but I have to confess to a foolish interest in something which has some historic interest but little relevance to business life; Trichet's letter.

Many commentators (who have not read the letter) claim it will reveal that the late Brian Lenihan was forced into a bailout but I expect publication will kill off his canard for good. At least for those who read it dispassionately.

On Saturday, one well-placed reporter alleged the "tone" of the letter was surprisingly harsh without giving any examples.

Irish Times

Senior figures in the Coalition yesterday called for a major recasting of Irish Water by setting up a Government committee to re-examine the entire project and by holding a referendum to copperfasten its status as a public utility.

In the wake of Saturday’s protest marches that saw well over 100,000 people take to the streets to voice their opposition to water charges, senior figures in the Government parties yesterday said the public antipathy towards the utility demanded concrete changes and a fundamental review.

Labour Party chairman Jack Wall said all water charges should be “put on hold” until a Government committee was set up to take a proper look at Irish Water and produce a comprehensive solution.

Europe’s largest technology conference, the Web Summit, gets underway in Dublin tomorrow, with more than 20,000 people expected to attend the three-day event in the RDS.

The heads of Dropbox, Stripe, Google, Amazon, Cisco, Tinder and Hailo will be in Dublin for the event, which will see 2,000 start-ups exhibiting to the partners of the world’s top venture capital firms.

Paypal co-founder Max Levchin, Facebook’s first investor Peter Thiel, former Apple CEO John Sculley, Zynga founder Mark Pincus, actress Eva Longoria, supermodel Lily Cole, English footballer Rio Ferdinand, U2 frontman Bono and Irish rugby player Jamie Heaslip will be among the 500 plus speakers at the event.

A year after Ireland waved goodbye to the troika, Germany has suggested the European Commission should adopt troika methods to name and shame EU governments into meeting their reform obligations.

In a joint paper, German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble and economics minister Sigmar Gabriel suggest the EU-International Monetary Fund troika system – regular visits to capitals to maintain reform pressure, in private meetings and via the media – would be an effective way of bringing around recalcitrant reformers.

“In future it will be of considerable importance to increase the will for fiscal consolidation and [greater] competitiveness in all member states,” the two ministers write in their report, sent last week to the new European Commission, the Eurogroup and the Italian presidency of the European Council.

Chris Johns: Hopes are high that the new Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) will boost lending to credit starved SMEs. Cynics say that this will be the only bone that we will ever be thrown in recognition of our role in saving the European banking system; we wanted direct equity recapitalisation of our banks but this is all that we got - another loan which, like all the others, has to be paid back.

Nevertheless, the new funds should be welcomed. As important as the cash is the recognition that Irish banks don’t have much expertise in non-property business lending. This, apparently, has come as a surprise to officials from KfW, the German bank that is supplying some of the funds and, we hope, some of the necessary lending expertise.

Irish Examiner

Irish Water is paying for its managers and staff to attend ‘resilience training’ classes to help boost their self-esteem and manage stress levels.

The Irish Examiner can reveal that workers involved in the company’s water metering programme began attending the courses in recent weeks.

Meter installers have been confronted by protest groups in housing estates across the county, with some being subjected to abuse. The company said the special training was for workers “coming up against difficult situations”.

The development comes as Taoiseach Enda Kenny responded to growing discontent over water charges with a stark warning that the top rate of income tax will be hiked by a crippling 4% if the new utility is abolished.

Mr Kenny claimed Irish Water will set out over the coming weeks how much people will pay and what they will get in return.


Euro Topics: The Swedish government announced its recognition of Palestine as an independent state on Thursday. Some commentators criticise the step on the grounds that the Palestinian organisations Fatah and Hamas don't have their territory under control. Others see the move as providing a basis for the Palestinians to negotiate with Israel on an equal footing.

Recognition puts Palestine and Israel on a par: Sweden is already the 135th country to recognise Palestine as a state. For the left-liberal daily Aftonbladet this step is necessary for Israel and the Palestinians to be able to negotiate on equal terms: "This is an important and courageous decision which will hopefully encourage others to follow suit. ... International recognition for a Palestinian state on Israel's border is the first step towards more equality between the two. Only when Israel and Palestine get down to serious negotiations over borders, land, Jerusalem, the economy, refugees and the infrastructure can there be lasting peace. Anyone who is unwilling to recognise Palestine as a state is in favour of maintaining the status quo. In that case daily life in Palestine and Israel will continue to be dominated by death, violence, insecurity, terror and destruction."

Anti-Obama takes charge of EU Commission: The new European Commission under Jean Claude Juncker officially started its work on Saturday. The Luxembourgian Juncker may not be such a charismatic politician but he has other qualities, the liberal state-owned daily Wiener Zeitung explains: "Europe's elite so much wanted a continental counterpart to Barack Obama with his 'Yes, we can'. What they got is a master of tactical compromise, an old-school deal-maker. Juncker is a back room politician, not a showman. In none of the three languages he speaks is he able to bring his audience to their feet. But in contrast to the brilliant orator Obama he knows how to forge alliances and compromises, how to ensnare his opponents and keep his team on his side. ... Europe needs a strategist for its long-term goals and a skilled tactician to master short-term adversities. ... That's the job description - and the flesh-and-blood Juncker fits it far better than the make-believe European Obama."

Italy must use EU's Youth Guarantee: With its Youth Guarantee the EU aims to ensure that all people under 25 get a job offer within four months of leaving formal education or becoming unemployed. Instead of getting caught up in his job market reforms Italian Prime Minister Renzi must focus on making sure that Italy takes full advantage of the funds offered by the Youth Guarantee scheme, the Catholic daily Avvenire urges: "Italy's regions have access to 1.5 billion euros in total. An experimental phase of a few months would suffice to show that Italy's real problem is not a lack of money. The funds are there but they are either not being used or are being put to poor use. ... Because what has been the result so far: countless meetings, programmatic agreements, new web portals and a couple of ineffectual commercials. ... So far the Youth Guarantee hasn't helped stimulate youth employment and has done even less to ease the path from school into the world of employment."

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