AN Irishman's plan to build the tallest residential building in
Europe has collapsed amid recriminations that apparently forced the resignation
of a top London banker.
Last November, it emerged that little-known developer Tom Ryan had agreed terms
to buy a site in London's Canary Wharf and planned to build a 74-storey
apartment block on the site.
The project, which appeared on the front page of the 'Financial Times', would
have cost about €1bn to complete.
Almost as soon as the deal was publicised, though, questions were raised as to
whether the 'Hertsmere Tower', as it was called, would be built. Mr Ryan was
almost unknown in UK and Irish property circles and had almost no track record
in major construction.
Now, the deal has fallen apart. Mr Ryan's firm, Ryan Investments Limited, never
closed the deal to buy the site and it was ultimately purchased by a Chinese
GERMAN Chancellor Angela Merkel reaffirmed her support for
Jean-Claude Juncker becoming the next president of the European Commission after
meeting EU leaders critical of the Luxembourger.
Ms Merkel made her statement after talks in Sweden
hosted by Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and also attended by British Prime
Minister David Cameron and Dutch premier Mark Rutte.
The informal meeting was held amid a campaign by Mr Cameron, who has promised a
referendum on Britain's continued membership of the European Union, to prevent
the federalist former Luxembourg prime minister being nominated to head the
bloc's executive arm.
"I have said that for me Jean-Claude Juncker is the candidate for the office of
Commission president and that I want to have him as the Commission president,"
Ms Merkel told a news conference.
Who becomes the next Commission head has generated heated debate since May's EU
parliamentary elections, with the risk Britain could be pushed closer to leaving
the EU if its opposition to Juncker is not heeded.
The four leaders talked until around 1am on Tuesday, with Ms Merkel's position
unchanged, a source at Mr Cameron's office said.
THE Labour Court will today make a last-ditch attempt to end a
row that is set to cause two 24-hour strikes at Aer Lingus next week.
Two new work stoppages on Monday and Wednesday will cause traffic chaos for up
to 80,000 customers. A dispute over cabin crew rosters has already caused
disruption for 28,000 passengers at Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports when staff
mounted pickets at the June bank holiday weekend.
The Labour Court said it was acting in the public interest by stepping in to try
to resolve the dispute, by inviting the parties to take part in an investigation
into the row over rosters.
Following submissions by the airline and IMPACT, the court will issue a
recommendation, which will be considered by both sides.
Cabin crew announced the work stoppages after talks with management on a 'five
days on, three days off' roster broke down. They want fixed-pattern rosters
because they say the current system is exhausting and "erratic".
Kieran McQuinn of the ESRI: Understanding the relationship
between the housing market and the real economy is of particular importance to
Ireland. The significant fiscal difficulties experienced by the Irish State from
2007 onwards, for example, were in part due to the strong linkages which had
developed between taxation revenues and activity in the housing sector in the
period immediately preceding this.
Research released as part of the ESRI's budget perspectives conference included
new data on households which is used to address how exactly the housing market
relates to the real economy.
Since 2011 there has been a considerable increase in the availability of
household-level data which can be used to address key policy concerns in the
Irish mortgage and property market.
Much of this data has originated from the analysis now underpinning the
stress-testing of Irish financial institutions at the Central Bank of Ireland.
One of the main issues addressed in the research is what economists call the
"wealth effect" of housing. This is a very important concept which measures the
extent to which households change their spending when there are changes in their
Getting a job pays more than staying on welfare for
the vast majority of people even when in-work costs like childcare and travel
are taken into account, according to a study by the Economic and Social Research
The finding appears to debunk the myth that
Ireland’s relatively generous social welfare system gives no incentive for
people to work.
The research, which will be presented today at
the ESRI’s annual Budget Perspectives seminar in Dublin, found close to six out
of seven people would be financially better off in work than on welfare.
Among those people in employment or unemployed
facing a situation where work pays less than welfare, more than 70 per cent
chose work rather than welfare. The findings have important implications for
policymakers as it suggests initiatives to improve the reward from work are
worthwhile, but will have only a limited impact on overall unemployment.
Martin Wolf: This year is the 100th anniversary of the start of
the first World War, the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the 25th anniversaries of
the collapse of the Soviet empire and the savage crackdown around Tiananmen
Square. One hundred years ago Europe’s fragile order fell apart. Seventy years
ago the democracies launched an assault on totalitarian Europe. Twenty-five
years ago Europe became whole and free, while China chose market economics and
the party state. We have now lived for a quarter of a century in an era of
global capitalism. But the political and economic pressures of such an era are
also increasingly evident.
In 1913, western Europe was the economic and political centre of the world. It
generated a third of world output (even measured at purchasing power parity,
which raises the shares of poor countries above those at market exchange rates).
European empires controlled most of the world, directly or indirectly. European
business dominated world trade and finance. While the US already had the largest
integrated national economy, it remained peripheral.
A couple of years back, billionaire US investor Wilbur Ross
brought together a number of top executives from the various companies in which
his group, WL Ross & Co, is invested.
They met in New York and it included Bank of Ireland chief executive Richie
Boucher, who was feeling a touch nervous about the meeting.
To help break the ice, Boucher presented Ross with a Leinster rugby jersey. With
the Bank of Ireland brand emblazoned across the chest (as team sponsor), and
Ross’s name on the back, the American was charmed by the gesture and proudly
modelled the jersey to those assembled.
Property developer Johnny Ronan is gearing up to re-enter
Dublin’s office construction market after agreeing to buy a key site beside the
former Burlington Hotel along with a UK partner for €40.5 million.
The site has full planning permission for a high density office block with a net
floor area of 15,384sq m (166,668sq ft).
Ronan’s acquisition of the best available city-centre site comes as he moves
ahead with plans to finally exit Nama by selling a number of office blocks and
other commercial investments to repay his personal company debts.
Virtually all of his 25 personal properties were assembled before he became
involved in the now defunct Treasury Holdings.
Around €400 million of his personal loans transferred to Nama are being reduced
at full price following the sale of his investments.
The Government will not have to implement the full €2bn in budget
consolidation to meet the 3% fiscal deficit target next year, according to
University College Cork economics professor, Seamus Coffey.
The size of the budget adjustment has become a thorny political issue that is
likely to test the resolve of the Coalition partners over the next few months.
Both Labour leadership contenders, Joan Burton and Alex White have signalled
that they will ease up on austerity if elected.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan has said that he will wait until there is
greater clarity on tax receipts at the end of the summer before any decisions
are made on the scale of adjustment.
Mr Coffey was speaking at a conference on recommendations for the economy
following the European Commission’s publication of its Country Specific Reviews
The UCC academic said that the planned consolidation figure for last year’s
budget was €3.1bn which ended up as €2.5bn. This year there are a number of
factors that are working in the Government’s favour, he added.
Euro Topics: The wrangling over the top post at
the European Commission continued with a mini-summit in Sweden. German
Chancellor Angela Merkel, who recently declared her support for Jean-Claude
Juncker, met there with her colleagues from the UK, Sweden and the Netherlands,
who reject him. Commentators urge the heads of government to accept the European
Parliament's top candidate, stressing that the EU mustn't allow itself to be
blackmailed by London.
The Guardian reports that Angela Merkel has issued a
rare public rebuke to David Cameron after the British prime minister reportedly
told an European Union summit in Brussels last week that the UK could leave the
EU if Jean-Claude Juncker was appointed president of the European Commission.
In a sign of the German chancellor's deep irritation with Cameron over his
hardline opposition to Juncker, she said that issuing threats was not part of
the European spirit. Merkel spoke out after a meeting of centre-right EU
leaders, hosted by Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt at his summer
retreat in Harpsund.
The three leaders, together with the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, reached
agreement on the need for the European council – the body comprising the 28 EU
leaders – to work with the European parliament on speeding up reform on areas
including freedom of movement and liberalisation of digital services.
But Cameron found himself isolated as Merkel said that Juncker was still her
preferred candidate. Rutte and Reinfeldt called for a wide-ranging EU reform
programme to be decided before choices about candidates are made.
Merkel's big chance as mediator: A consensus must be
reached before the European Council and the EU Parliament decide who should be
the next EU Commission president - and Angela Merkel is the one who can achieve
it, the conservative German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes:
"The Chancellor is now attempting to mediate, not least because she finds
herself in a classic dilemma. She wants to prevent a power shift from the
Council to the Parliament or a major dispute between the two bodies, but she
backed Juncker in the election. Merkel must get Juncker to be more conciliatory
and demand more tolerance from those who oppose him (first and foremost British
leader David Cameron). If she manages to satisfy both sides, she will show
herself to be Europe's true leader. The fact that others are trying to prevent
just this outcome doesn't make her task any easier."
Stop tolerating British blackmailing: The EU
shouldn't allow itself to be blackmailed by Cameron any more, political analyst
Ignacio Torreblanca warns in his blog with the left-liberal Spanish daily El
País: "Cameron apparently hasn't learned anything. In December 2011 he
threatened to block the so-called 'fiscal compact' - which the members of the EU
were negotiating - if the UK wasn't granted certain concessions. ... Now he's
making the same mistake again: trying to block Juncker's nomination vociferously
and publicly, even though he has no right of veto [as in this case only a
qualified majority, not unanimity, is required in the Council]. ... If he is
serious about his threats and the UK is indeed contemplating leaving the EU, its
EU membership has long since become pointless anyway. If it's not this then it
will be something else, the leaders of the other countries think to themselves
and ask: Why continue to live with the permanent threat of blackmail?"
British didn't discuss Juncker before EU vote: One
reason for the dispute over the post of EU Commission president is the very
different level of coverage the European election campaign received in the
respective EU states, political scientists Simon Hix and Stuart Wilks-Heeg write
on the blog EUROPP of the London School of Economics: "Battles
between governments over the interpretation of the Treaty are reasonably common
in EU politics. But what is perhaps surprising this time - and more worrying for
the future of the EU and Anglo-German relations - is how the media in Germany
and the UK have taken completely different views of the process. The different
level of media coverage of the campaign for the Commission President is one of
the main reasons why German and British voters and the political elites in
Berlin and London have a completely different understanding of how European
Parliament elections work."
South Stream: EU gets tough on Russia: At the behest of
the EU, Bulgaria decided on Sunday to suspend plans for the construction of the
South Stream gas pipeline. Brussels had objected to Bulgaria's having awarded
the contract to a Russian consortium. The conservative Polish daily
Rzeczpospolita supports the building freeze given that it is mainly aimed at
stemming Russian expansion in Ukraine: "This is the right strategy to counter
Russia and Putin. The attempts to start a dialogue aren't going anywhere.
Unfortunately we must stick to the facts here. Only by interfering with the
goals Russia is pursuing in Europe and across the globe can we force this
country to respect its neighbours' rights to independence and territorial
integrity. ... It's hardly surprising that Bulgaria's step has aroused concern
in Moscow. After all, South Stream is one of Gazprom's key investments and
Sofia's decision gets in the way of the Russian monopolist's expansion plans."