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News : International Last Updated: May 29, 2014 - 4:37 PM


Thursday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - May 29, 2014
By Finfacts Team
May 29, 2014 - 10:25 AM

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Irish Independent

The wife of former Anglo Irish Bank boss David Drumm needed her own money because she feared he could "drop dead from a heart attack" at the height of the banking crisis.

Lorraine Drumm told a US court that her husband transferred close to €1m to her "because I asked him".

In September 2008, when she opened a bank account in her own name for the first time since she getting married 17 years before, Mr Drumm was working long hours at the bank, she said.

"The marriage was going through a really tough time, the world was going through a really hard time," she said at a bankruptcy hearing.

"I didn't know at that time if our marriage would survive. I didn't know if he was going to drop dead of a heart attack. For the first time I could see a future without him," she said.

The 24-hour strike by Aer Lingus cabin crew that has already disrupted travel plans for thousands of passengers over the bank holiday weekend will go ahead tomorrow.

That's despite a last-ditch effort to kick-start talks aimed at resolving a dispute over rosters.

Trade union Impact has stood by its decision not to call off the strike despite the prospects of talks with the airline's management aimed at resolving the rostering issue.

Impact assistant general secretary Michael Landers said an invitation by Aer Lingus management on Tuesday to take part in talks came too late to avert the strike.

It is likely the negotiations will not start until next week. An Aer Lingus spokesman said last night that the two sides were now determining a start date for the talks.

How does one celebrate a 30th birthday? For Microsoft, it will be by building a brand new technology campus in Dublin. The IT giant is feeling bullish about its Irish operations and thinks it's here for the long term.

"As a company, it's a continued commitment to Ireland," says Cathriona Hallahan, Microsoft Ireland's managing director and a 27-year veteran of the IT giant.

"We have acquired some land and are in the planning process at present. That will take six months, realistically. So we should be breaking ground on it early next year."

Will it be an Irish version of Apple's mega-campus? Hallahan isn't saying. However, the new campus will house all of the company's existing 1,200 full-time employees. And it may well kick off a new phase of growth in Microsoft's workforce here.

Irish Times

One of the two Government jets, the 23-year-old Gulfstream IV aircraft, will be grounded if any non-routine maintenance or other major repair arises, briefing documents prepared by the Department of Defence show.

The documents, prepared for the Taoiseach, who assumed the role of Minister for Defence following Alan Shatter’s resignation, say there was no provision made in the 2014 budget for the replacement of the jet, which has amassed 13,110 flying hours in almost two and a half decades in service. It will remain in service as long as it requires only routine maintenance. There is no plan to sell the aircraft.

Between March 2011 and the end of March 2014 the current Government spent €4.4 million on the Ministerial Air Transport Service. Of the 218 trips made in this time, 110 were taken on the Gulfstream at a cost of €2.6 million.

As Ireland sits on the edge of possible economic recovery, we face many of the same choices as in the early 2000s. Having ducked those choices then, there is a risk we will make the same mistake in the crucial years before us. How can we avoid this?

It was not simply a case of “everyone partied” , nor of individual examples of bad behaviour in private and public institutions. In fact, there were deeper problems in Ireland under the Celtic Tiger.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s diluted support for Jean-Claude Juncker’s bid to be European Commission president has thrown the field open to other candidates, although it will be weeks before a single nominee emerges.

While Dr Merkel did not rule Mr Juncker out after talks with EU leaders yesterday, she acknowledged there was opposition to his candidacy and said a range of top EU jobs could only be decided in negotiations running until late June.

The European People’s Party, the EU’s centre-right political movement of which Dr Merkel’s party is a core member, won the most seats in European Parliament elections and is firmly backing Mr Juncker to become Commission president. “I am a member of the EPP. We nominated Jean-Claude Juncker ... The entire agenda can be implemented by him, but also by many others,” Dr Merkel said, choosing her words carefully as reporters peppered her with questions. “But I still have to respect the treaty.”

Despite the parliamentary posturing over the Irish taxation system in Britain over the past year, Britain has recognised that it can compete better against Ireland’s attractiveness to multinationals by improving its own taxation offering.

Hence, rather quietly, it dropped its corporate tax rate to 20 per cent, highlighted by my colleague Mark Paul in a recent article in this paper. He noted that David Gauke, the exchequer secretary to the UK treasury department, came out with a claim this month that the UK was now “top of the list” for consideration for foreign direct investment (FDI).

“A few years ago [Britain] wasn’t even making the shortlist. There is increasingly the sense that the UK is as competitive and attractive as other jurisdictions, whereas previously multinationals might have looked at Ireland, ” Gauke said.

Irish Examiner

The renovation of residential and commercial buildings could create 60,000 jobs over the next six years, according to Philip Lee solicitors.

At a seminar hosted by Engineers Ireland and Philip Lee Solicitors, the company said that, due to the Energy Efficiency Directive, the Government is obliged to renovate the national stock of residential and commercial buildings.

The Government are required to retrofit 3% of the total floor space of central government buildings a year for the next six years.

Europe

Euro Topics: After the victory of the Front National in the European elections, President François Hollande has called on the EU to move away from austerity. The head of the opposition UMP meanwhile announced his resignation over the Bygmalion affair on Tuesday. French politics needs an immediate fresh start to get over this crisis, commentators write, fearing that otherwise the FN will only gain in strength.

Only total renewal can help now: After the historic victory of the Front National in the European elections, an uninspired press conference by President Hollande and the resignation of the UMP leader, only total renewal can help French politics, the liberal Belgian daily Le Soir writes: "On the left as on the right, the landscape lies in ruins. There are no leaders or programmes left standing. How long will that last? This is no longer simply a crisis, it's a rupture between the French people and their politicians, who must put the past behind them and move into a new era. … The governing parties need more than just a congress marking their re-establishment. What they need are primaries. To bring in some fresh air and stop the country from suffocating. To listen to new ideas and make room for sound ambitions. And who knows? Perhaps to find new ways to fight the far right, although everything that's been attempted so far has failed."

Front National is the sole beneficiary: The political constellation has never been as favourable as it is now for the far-right Front National, the conservative German daily Die Welt writes: "Why is that? Because of all the scandals the established parties are caught up in, and because three consecutive French presidents haven't been able to push through the necessary reforms. ... It's also because the Socialists and the Conservatives have for years themselves turned public opinion against Europe - on the one hand on the grounds that it is too liberal, and on the other on the grounds that it is too open, too permissive. In adopting such attitudes, these parties prepared the soil on which the FN is now flourishing. You can't fight the far right by parroting its simplistic ideas. On the contrary, you have to make it clear that the FN entertains abstruse foreign and economic policy fantasies. ... It is worrying that not a single politician now has the credibility to disprove the assertion that this resentment-driven movement is 'France's top party'."

Hollande alone is to blame: French President François Hollande is mainly to blame for the success of the right-wing extremist Front National party and the political crisis in France, the liberal Italian business paper Il Sole 24 Ore writes, and calls on him to summon the courage for change: "François Hollande warned in Brussels that Europe must heed the mood in France and the results of the European elections, which sealed the victory of the Front National, Marine Le Pen's nationalist-populist party. But perhaps he is the first one who should have paid attention and grasped the full dimensions of the situation. ... If the far right has triumphed it is because of the ineptness, the amateurism, short-sightedness, cowardliness, presumption and arrogance of a political elite that is unfit to lead the country. ... With his popularity at an all-time low, Hollande has nothing to loose. He should pluck up a little courage and try to make some real changes in France. This is the only hope the president has of not going down in history as the president who handed the country over to the far right."

Poroshenko must renounce violence: In view of the violent unrest in eastern Ukraine, EU leaders on Wednesday jointly called on Russia to cooperate with the country's new president. They should also demand that Petro Poroshenko renounce violent actions, the liberal-conservative Italian daily Corriere della Sera comments: "Petro Poroshenko won the presidential election with the promise to restore peace within three months. Unfortunately he didn't explain how he plans to achieve this goal. ... If he sticks to the method we have observed during the first two days of his presidency there is every reason to be concerned. After three months of inactivity the Ukrainian military seems to be in the grips of a sudden burst of resolve. What Kiev describes as an anti-terrorism operation, as targeted action against the militia, is turning into a massive offensive that endangers or at least alarms the civil population in Donetsk. ... Petro Poroshenko's two main sponsors, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Barack Obama, should persuade him to be more cautious about how he deploys his fighter pilots and helicopter gunships."


© Copyright 2011 by Finfacts.com

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