The Irish Independent reports that Spain's financial crisis could hit the livelihoods of hundreds of fishermen along the west coast after one of Europe's top fishing companies filed for insolvency.
Pescanova, which has more than 160 subsidiaries in 20 countries including Ireland, shocked the Spanish stock market when it filed for insolvency last week.
The move could affect Pescanova subsidiary Eiranova Fisheries, which has been based in Castletownbere in Co Cork and also has an office in Dingle, Co Kerry. The factory processes brown shrimp and employs around 20 people at its west Cork operation on the main pier of Dinnish Island in Castletownbere. However, many of the smaller boats fishing for shrimp from Castletownbere Harbour also supply their catch to Eiranova.
Around 100 boats fishing from Castletownbere
Harbour alone supply their catch to the factory, as well as other boats fishing
for shellfish on the west coast from Cork Harbour to Loop Head in Clare.
"Anything that impacts on the fishing industry in Castletownbere impacts on us all. The local economy evolves around the fishing industry and we would be very concerned about any loss of revenue and the impact it would have on a small, rural community like this," Mr Murphy told the Irish Independent.
Pescanova filed for insolvency after a month of boardroom battles ended in stalemate and put the future of the debt-laden group at risk. The company suspended its auditors, BDO, and has said it will hire forensic auditors to examine its accounts after reporting discrepancies in its books on March 12, a day after the market regulator said it would investigate the fishing firm over possible market abuse. Pescanova has yet to present audited 2012 results and is in breach of Spanish law as a result. The company, which has been operating for more than 50 years, employs 10,000 people around the world.
The group's creditors, according to a banking source, include Spain's biggest banks, Sabadell, Caixabank, Popular, Santander, BBVA and Bankia.
The Irish Independent also reports that up to 100 new wind farms will be built over the next seven years, which will utterly transform our landscape.
Energy companies and private sector firms have
been offered connections into the national grid which will result in the number
of farms doubling, according to data obtained by the Irish Independent.
The Irish Times
reports that the Government is determined to pass laws to reduce public pay if
trade unions reject the second Croke Park deal this week, but it has yet to
settle on the “fine detail” of the steps it would take in that event.
Very tight vote
With the fate of the pay proposal agreed with
union leaders to be determined within days, the expectation in Coalition circles
is that the vote will be tight.
On Wednesday the overall public services
committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions is to meet to consider
ratification of the deal, based on the ballot results of affiliated unions.
The Irish Times
also reports that the Government will have to make a commitment on investing up
to €200 million in the VHI within the next six weeks if it is to meet a deadline
agreed with the European Commission of securing authorisation from the Central
Bank by the end of the year, the State-owned health insurer has warned.
The European Court of Justice found in September
2011 that VHI’s exemption from Central Bank authorisation and regulation was in
breach of EU directives. Its private competitors in the Irish market must have
substantial financial reserves.
The Irish Examiner reports that the battle to recoup about €1 trillion lost annually through tax fraud could threaten the country’s veto on tax issues in the EU.As just one or two countries now stand in the way of concluding agreements on exchange of bank information and on Vat fraud, EU finance ministers are demanding faster action.
Taxation Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta said the current system, where every country has to agree unanimously to tax legislation, slows down the process and makes change difficult.
“Discussions on the future of the EU treaty should involve the question of unanimity in tax. It should be one of the subjects of debate among member states,” he said.
Germany has said it wants a new EU treaty in 2015, to bring about changes in the structure of the union, especially on economic and political union. Britain is also pushing for a new treaty.
Mr Šemeta said “Sometimes it’s difficult to understand if there is one, two or three member states blocking a solution and the others have to wait until agreement is reached. It slows down the process, unfortunately, and needs lengthy negotiations and lots of compromises to reach agreement among the 27.”
Finance Minister Michael Noonan chaired the meeting in Dublin Castle where Mr Šemeta made his comments. When asked if it was time, due to tax evasion, to change the treaty to remove the veto, he said: “No, I don’t,” adding he had not heard anyone propose it.
Austria found itself under pressure to sign up to the automatic Exchange of Information from 2015, to agree to give details of foreigners’ bank accounts to other EU countries to ensure they are taxed. Luxembourg was holding out, but has now agreed to comply.
Austria’s finance minister, Maria Fekter, however, led a spirited defence of her position at the meeting, pointing to the hypocrisy of other countries who allowed offshore secretive banking in the form of trusts and other vehicles.
She said that Cyprus had been obliged to put in place a trust register and this was something every EU country should do, “including big islands” — referring to Britain and its tax havens such as the Isle of Man and the Cayman Islands.
Many of these offshore islands, facilitating anonymous trusts, were a paradise for money laundering she said, adding that it was unfair to put pressure on Cyprus and say nothing about others.
The Irish presidency is hoping to unblock the Savings Directive and the Vat fraud directive next month and this will unlock a whole series of tax fraud and tax evasion measures that are on the table.
Six countries came together to call for greater transparency and announced they will set up a pilot project among themselves. This was welcomed by Commissioner Šemeta but he said that if they all accepted the measures already on the table, it could all be achieved within a month.
However, he warned that even if all the measures were put in place, including getting the US and other countries globally to make similar moves, it would not automatically release the €1tn currently being lost to EU governments.
“We should not be naive that we would be able to collect the €1tn immediately if the legislation is adopted but it will be a strong incentive and a move towards it,” he said.
Among the measures being discussed is the closure of loopholes used by multinational companies to move money between jurisdictions, taking advantage of various tax regimes. This could see Ireland and the Netherlands having to change legislation.
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