THE Army has signed a deal with defence company Saab for a €4.4m
upgrade to the country's anti-aircraft missile system.
The surface-to-air missiles are deployed during high-profile State visits –
including historic visits by Britain's Queen Elizabeth and US President Barack
Obama in 2011 – but have never been fired in the country.
The Defence Forces first acquired the RBS 70s in the 1980s and they have been
upgraded several times.
Defence and security company Saab – which manufactured the missiles – has signed
a contract to upgrade Ireland's arsenal of RBS 70s.
The deal includes deliveries of improved firing units, new simulators,
night-vision equipment and associated weapons support.
Fresh from his successful Bank of Ireland sale, the US
billionaire's firm has struck a joint venture agreement with Irish investment
house Cardinal Capital that aims to raise €400m for property investments.
The new fund will be open to new investors as well as those who backed Wilbur
Ross, pictured, previously on deals including his successful Bank of Ireland
play. The fund-raising is expected to be finalised by September.
Once raised, the new fund will make so-called "mezzanine finance" investments in
commercial and residential property schemes here.
Mezzanine finance is a relatively risky form of investment that bridges the gap
between loans and pure equity – a mezzanine provider typical charges a higher
interest rate than banks but unlike traditional lenders is well back in the
queue to be repaid if a deal fails.
THE European Commission confirmed that it is beginning a formal
investigation into the State's tax arrangements with Apple.
The Department of Finance countered that it is confident Ireland has not broken
EU state aid rules. A spokesman said the State's position would be vigorously
defended after EU competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia announced the
much-expected in-depth investigation yesterday.
Apple again said yesterday that it had received no special consideration from
Irish officials and said it was subject to the same tax laws as scores of other
companies in Ireland.
Formal probes were also opened into tax arrangements between Starbucks and the
Netherlands, and Fiat Finance and Trade and Luxembourg.
The inquiry involving Ireland relates to the Irish branches of two Apple
entities – Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe – and covers
the period between 2004 and 2014.
The inquiry will not focus on Ireland's 12.5pc corporation tax rate, but on
so-called tax rulings, which involve "comfort letters" being issued by the tax
authorities of a country to a specific company clarifying how its corporate tax
will be calculated or on the use of specific tax provisions.
Some senior executives in voluntary hospitals and health
agencies, who are currently receiving highly controversial top-up allowances,
may be able to keep the payments if they can show they have a contractual
entitlement to them.
In April, the HSE rejected around 100 applications from voluntary hospitals and
health agencies to continue making top-up payments to senior staff in addition
to official salaries. This followed a wide-ranging investigation into breaches
of Government pay policy in the voluntary health sector.
The HSE directed that payment of such top-ups should cease by the beginning of
The Department of Finance has assembled a high-powered
international legal team to fight the State’s corner following the European
Commission’s decision to open a formal investigation into the corporate tax
affairs in Ireland of the iPhone maker Apple. The Department has hired a senior
UK barrister or QC (Queen’s Counsel), whom a source said is one of the “foremost
authorities” on the tax practices of multinationals, to advise the Government,
as well as an Irish-based senior counsel and a junior counsel. The Department
declined to confirm the name of the UK expert it has hired.
The team has been built as the Government has pledged to “vigorously defend” its
corporate tax regime following the European Commission’s decision to open the
Luxembourg and the Netherlands will also be investigated for tax rulings offered
to Fiat and Starbucks in a bid by Brussels to clamp down on aggressive tax
Intel has lost its challenge against a record €1.06 billion fine
handed down by European Union antitrust regulators five years ago for blocking
rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).
The European Commission in its 2009 decision said Intel tried to thwart AMD by
giving rebates to PC makers Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Japan’s NEC and Lenovo for
buying most of their computer chips from Intel.
The EU competition authority said Intel also paid German retail chain
Media-Saturn to stock only computers with its chips.
Irish entrepreneur Oisin Hanrahan, founder of the US-based
Handybook, which provides home-improvement services, has secured €22 million in
The fundraising was led by former AOL chairman Steve Case’s Revolution Growth
fund and has also attracted further capital from previous investors General
Catalyst Partners and Highland Capital Partners.
Mr Hanrahan (30), a native of Dublin and a finalist in the EY Entrepreneur of
the Year competition, also created the annual global Undergraduate Awards.
Now based in New York, the former Trinity College student founded Handybook with
Umang Dua while the two were roommates at Harvard Business School.
The Government should plan for a €2bn budget in October, although the planned
water charges and carryover savings from the Haddington Road Agreement should be
enough to reduce the fiscal deficit below 3% next year, according to the ESRI’s
Under the terms of the bailout programme agreed with
the troika, the Government is scheduled to introduce one last austerity budget
in order to meet the 3% deficit target next year.
According to the latest Country Specific Recommendations released by the
European Commission last week, it urged the Government to proceed with this €2bn
The two contenders for the Labour leadership contest, Joan Burton and Alex
White, have both pledged to ease up on austerity.
Euro Topics: Just who will become the new EU
Commission president remains unclear even after the mini-summit in Sweden.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was apparently unable to convince her
conservative party colleagues of the merits of Jean-Claude Juncker. Her task as
mediator was by no means easy, commentators write, and complain that now the
decision will be taken by a small elite.
Angela Merkel between a rock and a hard place: The liberal-conservative
Swiss Neue Zürcher Zeitung explains why the row over Juncker's candidacy for
Commission president presents a challenge for Angela Merkel in particular: "It
would be very awkward for Merkel to take sides against Juncker, whom both the
CDU and CSU [her party and its sister party] supported in the election campaign.
On the other hand a Europe of the Council would be more to her liking than a
Europe of the Parliament. In the circle of national governments a strong country
like Germany has better chances of pushing through its interests than in the
still somewhat unpredictable European Parliament. In the euro crisis it was the
chancellor who insisted that the important decisions be taken in the Council.
Moreover she can't be keen on the idea of a weakened Cameron - after all, it's
he who must see to it that the UK remains in the EU. A Union without Britain
would be a disastrous scenario for Germany because Berlin has more in common
with London as regards economic and financial issues than it does with Paris and
countries of the south."
Brexit would destroy balance in EU: Britain leaving the EU - as Prime
Minister David Cameron has threatened in the wrangling over who becomes
Commission president - is a horror scenario, columnist Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
argues in the conservative Daily Telegraph: "British withdrawal would not only
puncture the EU Project's aura of historic inevitability but would also change
the internal chemistry of the Union. Germany would be placed in a position of
hegemony that it does not want, and that would subvert EU cohesion. It would
make France's subordination even harder to endure, and embolden the
Souverainiste camp to look for other solutions. The pro-market states of
northern and eastern Europe that tuck in behind Britain would lose their
footing. The whole enterprise would become even more unstable at a time when it
has already lost its charisma as a motivating idea for the European peoples."
Extremists in Iraq also a threat for Turkey: The extremist militia
"Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) took over the northern Iraqi city
of Mosul on Tuesday. This development risks destabilising the entire region
including Turkey, the liberal Turkish daily Radikal believes: "ISIL belongs to
the new generation of radical Islamic groups and has employed the most brutal
terrorist methods in the civil war in Syria without batting an eye. ... After
Mosul they are now trying to gain power in Aleppo in Syria, which is also near
the Turkish border. This attack increases the danger of division and civil war
in Iraq. But the problems lie even deeper. ... With the civil war in Syria, the
Kurdish PKK has been able to establish a liberated zone not only in northern
Iraq but also in the north of Syria. That has given it even more power in the
so-called 'Kurdish peace process' initiated by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan.
... The fact that Mosul has now fallen to an Islamic terrorist organisation
which everyone considers an enemy will no doubt upset the power balance in the
Switzerland a model of innovation for France: In referendums like the recent
one on the minimum wage the Swiss have rejected employee-friendly proposals
similar to French labour policies. In view of the almost full employment in
Switzerland, the economist Nicolas Bouzou recommends that the French take
inspiration from the Swiss economic model: "The malady ailing France is more
profound and has to do with the cultural view the French take of the economy. In
this sense Switzerland is a more fitting source of inspiration than Germany.
Because the incipient global growth cycle is an unprecedented cycle of
innovation in nanotechnology, robotics, genetics, molecular biology, artificial
intelligence. … Growth by innovation is not only transforming economic
'infrastructures' but also all the 'superstructures' of labour, law, politics,
art. … Countries that focus on their past and their traditions and are afraid of
the future are condemned to stagnation."