Enda Kenny's senior Cabinet re-shuffle may involve just one
personnel change with some reallocation of departments, it has emerged.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan is reported to have intervened on behalf of
long-time supporter Jimmy Deenihan to help him save his Cabinet seat.
Leinster House sources suggested that Mr Kenny may now confine himself to
replacing Phil Hogan who will be named as Ireland's new EU Commissioner as part
of the government changes expected to be announced shortly.
Dublin Central TD and Junior EU Affairs Minister Paschal Donohoe was still
favourite to take the vacant Cabinet seat, though not necessarily in that
The new Environment Minister's job is still between FG Cabinet young guns Leo
Varadkar and Simon Coveney.
The reallocation of portfolios is central to ongoing Fine Gael-Labour
negotiations on the renewal of the Coalition's priorities.
Irish bank debt deal gets shot in arm in Bundestag: However,
other member states will have to pass similar rules which are already enshrined
in ESM treaty.
GERMANY has approved draft laws including a plan that could give Ireland's bid
for a debt deal a shot in the arm.
The laws ensure that biggest European economy is in line with rules that allow
the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) to recapitalise banks directly under
The move is a positive sign for Ireland in light of ongoing talks about
recapitalisations that had centred on Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Banks -
these talks are being headed up by Finance Minister Michael Noonan.
However, given that Bank of Ireland has paid back the money pumped into it, and
the State still has a 15pc stake in the institution, it is understood that any
recapitalisation talks would centre around Allied Irish Banks.
The bank is still owned by taxpayers who were stumped with over €60bn after the
sector collapsed although the Government has not yet decided what would be the
best route to take with AIB and it could still be sold privately.
In addition, decisions on recapitalisations would be taken on a case-by-case
basis and only €60bn of the ESM's total €500bn fund has been allocated for these
The Irish Stock Exchange (ISE) is working with the Government to
create a market in bonds backed by Irish SME debt.
It will mirror a new structure pioneered by Germany where mid size companies are
now able to bypass banks to borrow through the capital market.
"We are working with the Department of Enterprise, Enterprise Ireland and the
Department of Finance to see is there a credible - or on what basis could we
have - a credible bond market for mid sized enterprises in Ireland," ISE chief
executive Deirdre Somers said in an interview with the Irish Independent.
Germany's Deutsche Börse has already developed a market that allows investors to
buy into securities made up of - and backed by - incoming generating SME debt.
The decline in bank lending since the financial crisis is now seen by policy
makers across Europe as a long-term feature prompting the need to develop
alternative funding models.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi urged euro zone
states to respect their joint fiscal rules and extend their cooperation to
economic reforms, telling governments they must “learn to govern together”.
While reiterating his message that the ECB is ready to use “unconventional
instruments” - code for large-scale asset buying - if needed, he devoted most of
a speech in London to pressing for closer European integration to deliver growth
Mr Draghi, who brought the euro zone back from the brink of break-up in 2012
with his pledge to do “whatever it takes” to save the euro, called on countries
to respect the EU’s Fiscal Compact on reducing public debt.
Two Irish MEPs yesterday pressed incoming European Commission
president Jean-Claude Juncker on the issue of Ireland’s claim for debt relief.
During a closed meeting between the European People’s Party (EPP) and the
proposed head of the European Commission, Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes outlined the
importance of honouring the June 2012 agreement to separate Irish banking debt
and sovereign debt.
Meanwhile Independent MEP Luke Ming Flanagan urged the former Luxembourg prime
minister to honour his commitment to Ireland regarding bank debt, when the
former head of the euro group appeared before the GUE-NGL group, of which Mr
Flanagan is a member.
A US court should have information about the finances of Gayle
Killilea Dunne, wife of bankrupt developer Seán Dunne, to decide whether she is
a “puppet” and he is the “puppet master” in their relationship, a judge has
Judge Alan Shiff will examine records in Mr Dunne’s US bankruptcy to decide
whether they are relevant to the case after lawyers for Ms Killilea Dunne argued
that documents sought by the official overseeing his bankruptcy were not
relevant to his investigation and breached her privacy.
The judge said at a hearing in Connecticut that there was at least a suspicion
that some of the assets at the centre of the bankruptcy trustee’s investigation
were Mr Dunne’s and that he was setting up US companies that the couple have
said were owned by Ms Killilea Dunne.
Forecasts of technology start-ups contributing €200m a year to the Dublin
economy by 2020 and creating 2,800 jobs have been described as "conservative",
with one industry mentor suggesting such figures could be doubled.
Addressing the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Eoin Costello of Start-up
Ireland said while there remain challenges to overcome for Dublin to truly
become an internationally renowned technology start-up hub, it could be well on
the way by 2020.
Last year’s ‘Activating Dublin’ report from Dublin Chamber of Commerce and
Dublin City Council suggested the capital could become the number-one technology
start-up city in Europe by 2020, with the sector contributing €200m to the local
economy on a yearly basis.
Euro Topics: Israel has no prospects in permanent
state of war: As a country in a permanent state of war, Israel will never
achieve its founding goal of becoming a peaceful state, the liberal Swiss
tabloid Expressen comments: "Unlike the military, the politicians [in
Israel] still believe they can feel safe in their own country if they just use
the right amount of violence. ... Hamas bears a major responsibility for the
destruction. ... But the main culprit is high-tech military power Israel. ...
The Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip could trigger a new intifada. The Israeli
government perhaps believes it's worth the price. It probably assumes that
thanks to its military superiority, in an intifada it will be able to deliver
such a heavy blow to the enemy that it itself won't suffer too many losses. But
an Israel in a permanent state of war, with a conscience troubled by ever more
sins, can't be the state that was dreamed of on its founding."
Czechs no longer adequately qualified: The
Czech Republic is no longer the top location for German investment in Eastern
Europe. According to surveys by several German chambers of commerce, Poland has
taken first place for the second time in a row this year. The conservative
daily Lidové noviny is worried: "For a long time the Czech Republic was the
darling of German investors among the countries of post-communist Europe. We
were so proud of this feather in our cap, but now it belongs to Poland. It's
shocking to realise that Czech workers are no longer suitably qualified. True,
we still have qualified workers, but their qualifications don't correspond to
the demands of the market. The fact that things have changed can also be seen in
the infrastructure. Poland's road network used to be neglected, but now it's
better than ours. Investors expect more from the Czech Republic, and their
disappointment is all the greater. ... What German investors think of us is
highly significant. After all, Germany is our biggest commercial partner."
Politicians to blame for HSH Nordbank debacle:
The trial against six former board members of the state-run HSH Nordbank ended
with acquittals all round on Wednesday. The judges ruled that the accused
had not deliberately neglected their duties when they hurt the bank with dubious
transactions at the start of the financial crisis. The left-leaning daily taz
also says others are to blame for the millions the bank lost: "When together
with a French bank, northern German bankers found a joint society in Ireland via
a branch in London to play with Icelandic government bonds and US certificates,
they're knowingly risking ruin. ... But the real culprits of the Nordbank
disaster weren't even on trial - the politicians, especially those of the
mainstream parties. They turned locally established promoters of industry and
trade into global casinos, to fill their state coffers no matter what the
consequences. Now they have failed again in the bid to process what happened in