THE introduction of free GP care for the under-sixes will not
happen this summer as promised and instead will be introduced in the “autumn”,
Junior Health Minister Alex White revealed today.
Mr White was moving the Bill to give effect to the measure which will give free
GP visits to another 240,000 children at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on
Health and Children.
It will mean that all children aged five and under, will get the free GP care,
regardless of their parents’ income - with €37 million set aside to fund it this
However, Opposition TDs on the committee questioned the timing of the move.
The announcement comes in the wake of the discretionary medical card
controversy, and cuts in other areas of the health service.
THE Central Bank has been unable to find a replacement for chief
economist Lars Frisell despite a six-month search, the Irish Independent has
Mr Frisell left the Central Bank in March to take up a job with the
International Monetary Fund's Africa training institute in Mauritius.
His post was advertised globally after his resignation was announced in
November, with the closing date for applications in early December.
A spokeswoman for the Central Bank confirmed that the top job has still not been
filled. The process remains open and deputy governor Stefan Gerlach has assumed
Mr Frisell's responsibilities while the process continues, she said. However, it
is understood an appointment is not imminent.
AIB to launch portable tracker mortgage product -
Duffy; It will allow people to move home without losing their tracker deal
Allied Irish Banks will launch a portable tracker mortgage product on July 1,
chief executive David Duffy told shareholders at the bank's AGM today.
It will allow people to move home without losing their tracker deal.
The move follows on from similar offerings from the likes of Permanent TSB and
Bank of Ireland.
Earlier shareholders heard that the bank could pay off the €20bn cost of its
State rescue, chairman David Hodgkinson.
However, he also admitted that it is likely to be 20 years before AIB has to pay
any corporation tax in Ireland even after it returns to profit, chairman David
He was agreeing with a shareholder who said the deferred tax assets the bank has
accrued because of record past losses means it could be 30 years before the bank
is hit with a corporate tax bill.
Earlier shareholders heard that chief executive David Duffy has signed a
permanent contract to head up the bank.
The bank's most senior executive had been on three year contract due to the end
this year, the bank's annual general meeting had been told.
The family of former billionaire Seán Quinn has filed a legal
action seeking €4.5 billion from the State to compensate it for the loss of its
business empire following alleged illegal lending by Anglo Irish Bank.
The family, according to a statement of claim delivered yesterday, is suing the
Central Bank and the Minister for Finance as well as 10 former directors of
Anglo. It is expected that these claims will be vigorously defended.
The family is not suing former Anglo chairman Seán FitzPatrick, or the bank’s
former chief executive, David Drumm.
The Quinns allege the defendants, their servants, and/ or agents “conspired to
commit illegal and/or unlawful acts through breaches of section 60 of the
Companies Act 1963 and the Market Abuse Regulations 2005”. These claims have
already been denied by former Anglo directors.
AIB chairman David Hodgkinson told shareholders today that the
bank intends to repay the €20.8 billion in bailout funds that it has received
from the State since 2009.
“This bank will over time repay the €20 billion to the State,” he said in
response to a rambling question from shareholder Niall Murphy at its annual
general meeting in Ballsbridge. “That is our intention. We have to create a
viable institution and we are well on that path.”
Earlier, in a prepared statement, Mr Hodgkinson said it was the “constant focus”
of the board of AIB to repay the State and he said the bank had paid €2 billion
in recent years to the exchequer in fees related to the Government guarantees
and coupon payments on its contingent capital notes.
Despite the economic upheaval of recent times,
consumer prices in Ireland are on average 18 per cent higher than the European
According to figures published today by Eurostat,
price levels for everyday goods and services differed widely between member
The data showed Ireland ranked as the fifth most expensive country of 28, behind
only Denmark, Sweden, Luxembourg and Finland, with average prices at a 118 per
cent of the EU average.
This placed us ahead of countries like the UK, France, Germany and Spain.
Surprisingly given the country’s reputation as a food producer, prices of food
and non-alcoholic beverages here were 17 per cent higher than the average.
The European Operations Centre of PayPal is a 10-minute walk from
Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) where many of the international students
were interested to hear that the company is to recruit another 400 staff.
Darshan Patel, 18, came to Dundalk from India to study mechanical engineering.
He decided to study in Ireland rather than America, as his parents had
suggested, because of the presence of companies like Google, PayPal, Facebook
“Ireland is the hub of engineering. My family are all engineers so I came here
to DkIT to study mechanical engineering. There are good opportunities for jobs
after my studies are complete. I plan to stay here after my studies,” he said
“I will apply for a job in PayPal,” he said, although his ultimate goal is to
design car engines.
He is one of a group of “10-15 guys from India and everyone is studying
engineering or business. Ireland is good for engineering because all of the US
companies are here.”
Euro Topics: The people should decide on head
of state: In a democracy it should be the people who decide who becomes head of
state, several dozen Spanish artists contend. In a manifesto published in
the left-leaning online Spanish daily eldiario.es they call for a referendum on
the form the Spanish state should take: "70 percent of our country's population
was not allowed to have its say in the vote on the constitution in 1978.
Therefore we demand that the people, with whom the sovereignty rests, have their
say and decide in a referendum whether they want a monarchy or a republic, a
monarchy or a democracy. We call for the start of a comprehensive constitutional
reform that ensures that all institutions are elected by the people. We in the
cultural world, like millions of other citizens, ask ourselves an obvious
question: if one head of state is replaced by another, why can't we citizens
decide who occupies that post?"
Valls must not give in: The French Court of
Auditors warned on Tuesday in a report that France may fall short of its 2014
deficit target of 3.8 percent by 0.2 percentage points. Doubts focus
particularly on the success of the government's austerity reforms. The regional
paper Le Télégramme explains how Prime Minister Manuel Valls can rebuild trust
in the government: "Right when Manuel Valls is defending his budget project
against critics on the left, the low tax revenues resulting from France's weak
economic performance are eroding faith in his government. The prime minister is
making a show of his resolve and swears he won't give in either to the railway
employees or the temporary show business workers. Let's hope not! Because if
he's incapable of pushing through either of these mini-reforms how can anyone
believe he'll be more successful with the real reforms?"
Danish government backpedals on energy:
Denmark's social democratic government has come to an agreement with the
liberals over a new growth package foreseeing among other measures lower charges
on energy consumption for companies. According to the plan, businesses will
pay 1.75 billion euros less than anticipated over the next five years. For the
left-liberal daily Politiken, the government has lost sight of its climate
goals: "Voters could have expected something like this from a conservative
government that prefers mass livestock farming to wind turbines. But not from a
social democratic one, which had made climate issues a heartfelt matter. Now,
however this very government is planning to raise taxes and charges on
cigarillos to save the economy a few minor expenses. No doubt our planet will
survive the fact that the government has agreed with the liberals to postpone
the construction of Denmark's biggest wind farm by a few years. But what counts
here is the signal this growth package sends."
Spain fails with old warriors: After
winning three international football titles in a row World Cup champion Spain
dropped out of the 2014 Fifa World Cup on Wednesday after losing 0-2 against
Chile. You can't afford to rest on your laurels, the
liberal Italian daily La Stampa taunts: "Adiós Espana. ... On the very same day
on which the Spanish king abdicated, and at the Maracanã temple of all places,
world champion Spain failed conclusively. An era has ended, a generation of
artists has fallen. ... The poor manager of the national team, Vicente del
Bosque, changed players. But like many of his predecessors, starting with the
great Bearzon in Mexico, he got caught up in gratitude and became too timid. ...
Del Bosque should have made sure he had the Spanish champions of the European
Under-21 Championship as reserves, so he didn't have more than one old lame duck
per position. No doubt people would have thought he was crazy. But at least he
might have outlived his king."