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News : International Last Updated: Jun 13, 2014 - 5:00 PM


Friday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - June 13, 2014
By Finfacts Team
Jun 13, 2014 - 11:27 AM

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Irish Independent

A PRIVATE management consultancy firm is being paid €250,000 a year by the Health Service Executive (HSE) to fill a senior health service post – more than twice the official rate for the job.

The HSE, which is enforcing more swingeing hospital cuts as it struggles with its biggest financial crisis yet, is making the massive €258,730 payment to the Starline Management Consulting Limited.

The agency is filling the post of assistant chief executive and chief operating officer in the mid-west, which carries a salary of €116,000.
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The extent of the payment only came to light yesterday when HSE chief Tony O'Brien was challenged by Public Accounts Committee chairman John McGuinness and followed a grilling by TDs on the distress inflicted on medical card holders.

Mr O'Brien admitted that despite advertising the post twice it could find no applicants to take up the position.

MANY unemployed people are being excluded from government back-to-work schemes because their spouses or parents are working, a Dail Committee was told, writes Aideen Sheehan.

The National Women's Council (NWCI) and other groups called for people who are excluded from the schemes, because they don't qualify for means-tested unemployment payments, to be allowed to participate.

A total 35pc of those leaving the Live Register last year were people who were no longer entitled to welfare payments.

Irish Residential Properties REIT is buying the Marker Residences apartment development complex in Dublin's south docklands for just over €50m.

Brehon Capital and Midwest, which is the seller, acquired the residences and retail development in 2011 as part of the mixed-use complex that includes the award winning Marker Hotel for €30m beside Grand Canal Square.

The building comprises 84 luxury apartments completed to exacting standard in addition to 6 fully occupied commercial units at ground floor level, with car parking provision for 113 spaces at basement level.

Irish Times

The purchase of three major Irish businesses over the past two years by the billionaire businessman Denis O’Brien involved total bank write-offs of more than €300 million.

The deals saw the businessman invest €230 million to acquire the Siteserv Group, the Topaz Group and the Beacon Private Hospital.

The Siteserv deal saw the State-owned Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, which is now in liquidation, write off €110 million of the €150 million it was owed. Mr O’Brien’s move to become the major shareholder in the Topaz Group earlier this year involved the IBRC writing off slightly more than half of the €304 million it was owed.

Over 1,100 workers at the southeast’s largest private sector employer are expected to vote early next week on a series of cuts which would see almost 200 of their number losing their jobs.

Staff from Bausch & Lomb in Waterford were briefed last night on a “modified” set of proposals by management who want to implement tough cost-cutting measures which the company says are necessary to save the plant.

The company still want to shed nearly 200 jobs but have agreed to reduce pay cuts from 20 per cent to 7.5 per cent although staff members said the 7.5 per cent cut is to core pay and when other cuts, such as the loss of bonus payments, are taken into account there will be almost 15 per cent shaved from annual pay-packets.

David Cameron, UK PM: "For many European citizens the most interesting debate right now is who will win the World Cup. But another debate, one on how we choose the right president for the European Commission, has taken place in newspapers across Europe, including in The Irish Times (Editorial, June 9th).

I want to set out the UK position on the issue and to be clear about our longer- term vision for the European Union. Voters sent a clear message at the European elections.

They are disillusioned with the way Europe is working. They are demanding change so it focuses on what they care about: growth and jobs.

And they want the EU to help them, not dictate to them. This was clear through the rise of anti-EU parties; the fall in turnout in the majority of countries; and the decline in support for the European Parliament’s largest political groups."

Chris Johns: Not all recessions are the same, but they often share common features. During the post-second World War period, at least up until the global financial crisis, the causes of downturns were often either central bank actions – jacking up interest rates to stop inflation – or oil price shocks. Or sometimes both.

Our most recent recession is more of a 19th-century vintage: it was caused by a financial crisis.

One of the reasons why the US central bank, for example, was created was in response to those earlier recessions. Modern central banking has crisis prevention and firefighting in its DNA; the preoccupation with inflation is a very modern invention – something that took off, in the US and Britain at least, during the past 30 years. The specific German obsession with inflation also has clear historical roots – going back nearly a century – an obsession that was quite deliberately bequeathed to the rest of Europe with the advent of the euro.

Irish Examiner

The Irish banks probably have enough capital not to fail the ECB stress tests, but they do not have sufficient levels to start functioning normally, according to Standard & Poor’s Nigel Greenwood.

The credit ratings agency upgraded the sovereign credit rating to A- from BBB+ with a positive outlook last Friday, but retained a negative outlook on five Irish banks — Bank of Ireland, AIB, Ulster Bank, KBC Ireland and Permanent TSB — during the week.

Irish banks face ECB stress tests later this year as part of the Comprehensive Assessment of the banking system. Mr Greenwood, a director of financial institutions ratings at S&P, who was speaking at a briefing in Dublin yesterday, said that these banks will probably have enough capital to get through the stress tests, but they are well shy of the capital needed to return to robust levels of lending.

Europe

Euro Topics: The troops of the Islamic extremist group Isil (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) have advanced to within 60 kilometres of the Iraqi capital Baghdad. Meanwhile it has emerged that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has asked the US for support through air strikes. The West's misguided Iraq strategy is to blame for the collapse of the country, commentators say, and fear that Afghanistan now faces a similar scenario.

Iraq bodes no good for Afghanistan: The advance of Isil in Iraq is a warning to all those who were still hoping things would take a turn for the better in Afghanistan, the conservative Dutch daily De Telegraaf observes: "Get ready for what will happen soon in Afghanistan. Because Iraq is effectively the blueprint for Afghanistan: occupation followed by gradual withdrawal of international and above all American troops. And the simultaneous building up of the country's police force and army. ... Prime Minister al-Maliki, who is largely responsible for the chaos in his country, must now return to Washington with his tail between his legs. He wants the US to drive away the rebels with air strikes. ... But Obama is also to blame for the disaster. The restraint he has promoted is encouraging radical movements in the Middle East. There they only heed the whip, not common sense."

Only Obama can save Iraq: Only a new deployment of US troops in Iraq can stop the Islamists' advance, the liberal Croatian daily Jutarnji List is convinced: "In Iraq there is only one solution: the return of American troops. Only in this way can Isil's presence on the ground be thwarted and a form of civil society re-established. Barak Obama started his first term as president with the promise that he would withdraw the American army from Iraq, and that's what he's done. It is increasingly likely that he will end his second term by once more sending troops there. This time at the behest of the Iraqi government and all Iraqis who don't want their country to endure a century of religious war."

PM Maliki fanned extremism in Iraq: The Islamist militant group Isil has taken control of further areas in northern Iraq and announced plans to start an offensive against the capital Baghdad. Roughly half a million people have been compelled to flee. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki bears the responsibility for the country's impending collapse, the liberal Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad believes: "Maliki only has himself to blame for this dramatic situation. In his eight years as prime minister he has remained the representative of the Shiite majority. The Sunnis feel they've been treated dishonestly - with good reason. The prime minister excluded them from power as best he could. Economically they've had a harder time of things than the Shiites, their leaders are persecuted and even the moderates have been labelled as terrorists. ... In this way the prime minister has driven ever more Sunnis into the arms of the extremists. ... His election victory in April has only exacerbated the bitter confrontation in the country, while at the same time increasing the danger of all-out civil war."

Anti-Juncker trio more perilous than populists: The prime ministers of the UK, Sweden and the Netherlands continue to oppose Jean-Claude Juncker as next Commission president. The liberal Estonian daily Postimees is appalled at this behaviour: "Angela Merkel was indisputably in favour of the transparent and democratic game when she set off for Sweden on Monday evening to meet Reinfeldt and his British and Dutch colleagues, David Cameron und Mark Rutte. But she faced a stubborn trio. While Reinfeldt should have been on Merkel's side after Dublin [where Juncker was nominated by the European conservatives], the bitterness of the other two is understandable. The British Conservatives sidelined themselves five years ago when they left the conservative fraction and joined the populists in their incessant complaining about the EU. The trio at the Swedish summit seems to pose a greater threat of extremism than all the senseless extremists, from Le Pen to the Golden Dawn party."


© Copyright 2011 by Finfacts.com

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