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News : International Last Updated: May 26, 2014 - 11:04 AM


Monday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - May 26, 2014
By Finfacts Team
May 26, 2014 - 8:58 AM

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Irish Independent

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore will hold crisis talks today to find a way to win back middle Ireland in the wake of disastrous local elections for both government parties.

Tax cuts, a new approach to medical cards, the housing shortage and the cabinet reshuffle will be on the table as the Coalition tries to halt its nose-dive in the 18 months before the general election.

Mr Gilmore is also coming under particular pressure to axe key allies from the Labour old guard, such as Ruairi Quinn, Pat Rabbitte, Jan O'Sullivan and Joe Costello, and bring in fresh blood.

Alex White and Alan Kelly are among the names being mentioned for promotion.

Younger TDs believe a number of veterans won't even be running in the next general election – but continue to hog the ministerial positions.

Finfacts: Ireland: Spin and spending will not save bewildered Coalition

PUPILS and parents will give evidence at hearings being introduced to deal with complaints of serious misconduct and underperformance by teachers in primary and second-level schools.

For the first time in Irish education history, individual teachers will soon be subject to Fitness to Teach investigations by their professional standards body, the Teaching Council.

Legislation due to be enacted this summer will pave the way for the investigations, which may include hearings similar to those conducted by the Medical Council or the nurses' professional body, An Bord Altranais.

Such investigations would be a last resort – and would only take place after school disciplinary procedures have been exhausted.

More than 1,800 people have applied for the Defence Force's latest recruitment drive.

The huge demand means only one in every 43 applicants will get a place on the programme.

The flood of applications received by the Defence Force for its annual Cadetship Competition has now become a common theme as young people continue to seek employment opportunities outside the traditional jobs sphere.

A total of 1,826 people had applied for this year's programme by last week's application deadline.

However, a spokesperson for the Defence Forces told the Irish Independent there are only 42 positions available at the end of the competition.

A cadetship, or army line officer training, is a course designed to train potential commissioned officers to take up operational appointment in the Permanent Defence.

Salaries for cadets begin at €16,599. Candidates could apply for any of four different positions advertised by the Defence Forces.

TWENTY-six properties linked to the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) have been sold without any evidence of open marketing, the State's public spending watchdog has said.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) examined the disposal of a sample of 144 properties with gross proceeds of about €1.3bn and found 118 had been openly marketed.

The C&AG's report into NAMA's progress, released last week, said the explanation for 15 of the 26 cases was reasonable and included contractual issues in place before NAMA took over the loans linked to the properties.

But in a separate case a property was sold in Ireland for €27m but no evidence was provided to show how the buyer was selected, the C&AG report said.

Irish Times

Estimated 5,000 new homes a year needed to meet social housing demand

Who’d be a director of housing in a local authority?

Though the national waiting list for local authority housing is officially 89,872, (compared with 28,200 in 1993, 48,400 in 2002 and 56,250 in 2008), this figure published by the Housing Agency last year is now a year old.

Up-to-date figures gathered by The Irish Times last week from 21 local authorities showed lists had gone up by as much as 105 per cent (Roscommon) and by an average of 42 per cent. The actual national figure is almost certainly well over 100,000 households, and many more than that in terms of people.

The drubbing suffered by both Coalition parties in the local elections raises questions about the Government’s ability to survive until the end of its term, but the more important question is whether it also marks a fundamental shift in Irish democracy.

The 2011 general election marked the end of Fianna Fáil dominance, which had lasted almost 80 years. If the local election results are the harbinger of things to come, they could mark the end of party politics as we know it. More than 40 per cent of the votes in the local elections went to Independents, smaller parties and Sinn Féin, while in Dublin that trend was even stronger with over half the vote drifting away from the three parties that have dominated politics since the foundation of the State.

Ireland has long struggled to see research and technology discoveries in higher education laboratories transferring readily into the private sector. There were a host of reasons, with academics and third-level officials blaming the companies for squabbling over intellectual property guarantees or rewards on licences, and businesses saying the academics had unrealistic expectations or weren’t doing anything worth commercialising.

Year after year, this correspondent heard how things would all come right once the licensing procedures were straightened out and proper legal structures were put in place. But as the years passed nothing much seemed to change. It seemed an unfortunate truth that the magic that happens in places such as Silicon Valley or Singapore wasn’t going to be repeated here.

Danske Bank is now the most aggressive financial institution in the State when it comes to pursuing its debtors through the courts for summary judgment, an analysis of official court records has shown.

Danske is more than seven times as likely as either of the pillar banks, AIB and Bank of Ireland, to resort to court action against its customers, when the number of cases is measured against the size of the banks’ loan books.

A total of 1,354 cases for summary judgment – where the plaintiff applies for a fast-track ruling from a judge without a trial or witnesses – were recorded on the High Court database in 2014 to the end of last week. Danske, which is winding down its Irish loan book, accounts for almost one in five such applications.

Irish Examiner

Michael Clifford: This is what you get when you falsely promise a democratic revolution. Three years ago, Enda Kenny looked the electorate in the eye, struck that ham actor pose of his, and promised that he would usher in a "democratic revolution". He and his government did no such thing. Last Friday, the electorate declared that they won’t get fooled again.

Anybody who trawled the doorsteps with candidates during the election campaign would have heard the issue of water charges repeatedly being raised like a jack in the box. But this election was about something more profound than that, or the property tax, or the universal social charge. Many who reaped a golden harvest on Friday milked these issues, but the extent of the collapse in Labour’s vote in particular hinted at a deeper disillusionment.

In 2011, the electorate knew well that the old politics was kaput. Feather bedding, approaching the European powers like supplicants, putting party before country, vested interests before the common good — everybody knew that these values had landed the country in the mire.

Fianna Fáil was punished, and Kenny said that on the journey back he would beat a new, fairer path, where the moral imperative of politics would be restored. The electorate responded by delivering the biggest majority in the history of the State.

Europe

Euro Topics: Pension reform reveals German double standards: The German Bundestag is due to pass a controversial pension reform proposed by the grand coalition government today, Friday. The new law will allow certain people to retire on a full pension at 63. It's no wonder critics accuse the government of applying double standards, economist Klaus Zimmermann writes in The Financial Times: "The Germans, in the pursuit of their strategy to right the listing ship of the eurozone, have demanded all sorts of adjustment measures from their partners. ... In such a highly charged political environment, the government risks being criticised for double standards. It apparently insists on toughness when it comes to the choices that must be made by other nations. But for its own citizens - already comfortably off, in comparison to many in Europe - it sweetens the deal still further, while paying no heed to cost or sustainability."

Don't deliver arms to Syria: The proposal by the Danish Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard that moderate rebels in Syria should be supplied with arms is not the right solution, the Christian Danish daily Kristeligt Dagblad writes, offering the following comparison: "Things are not at the point they got to in Bosnia, where soldiers of the UN and later Nato were on the ground while at the same time the Croatians and Bosnians were secretly (and without Danish support) being supplied with weapons to fight the Serbs. The war was then ended at the negotiating table. These factors aren't in play in Syria, which is why more weapons would likely only result in the use of even more weapons. For that reason we should put our hopes in a new strategy by Denmark, other EU states and the US aimed at least at quickly creating a humanitarian corridor for the most needy."

Deep rift between Belgian politics and business: Economic growth and high unemployment are the main themes of the parties ahead of the parliamentary elections in Belgium this Sunday. But a deep divide runs between the politicians and the business community, the liberal business daily De Tijd complains: "Politics and business - two different worlds. They each follow their own logic. The one world is barely aware of what goes on in the other. That's a pity because they both need each other. ... There are attempts to build bridges, but in this election too, it's hard to find any entrepreneurs at all on the party tickets. On the other hand there are too few politicians campaigning for the interests of the business community. This community is vitally important for the economy, but its members don't count so much as voters. ... The politicians can't make the economy grow merely by snapping their fingers. That requires enthusiastic individuals who found and build up companies. Fanning that enthusiasm will be an important task for the new government."


© Copyright 2011 by Finfacts.com

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