National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) is committed to paying
down a minimum of 80 percent of its senior debt by the end of 2016, two years
earlier than planned, a government review of the state-run "bad bank" said on
Seen as a major liability for Dublin's finances until quite recently, NAMA has
been taking advantage of a surge in demand for Irish real estate and already
expects to pay back 50 percent of its 30 billion euros ($40.5 billion) of senior
debt by year end.
A FORMER senior executive at Vodafone Ireland is to stand trial
charged with stealing almost €2m from the company over a four-year period.
Niall Barron (40), who held the position of head of corporate financial services
at the telecoms company, appeared at Dublin District Court to face 42 charges
under the Theft and Fraud Offences Act. He was arrested by detectives from the
Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation in Dublin city centre yesterday morning.
Detective Garda Stephen Niland told Judge Denis McLoughlin that the accused, who
has an address at Ard na Cuan in Wexford Town, Co Wexford, "made no reply to any
of the charges". It is alleged the offences occurred at Vodafone's HQ in
Leopardstown in Co Dublin from
2003 until 2007.
AGEISM is an awful thing. But The Punt feels it necessary to
point out that our new junior finance minister was born in the same year that
top class 80s film 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' hit the big screen.
The youthful Wicklow TD takes over the post from Brian Hayes who's gone packing
off to Europe.
It's a big boost for Harris who's also the youngest deputy in the Dail.
The question is whether it is the correct move by the Taoiseach?
Why not? Harris comes across as intelligent, articulate and an impressive
performer on the Dáil's influential Public Accounts Committee.
Isn't that all that matters? His area of responsibility is also an interesting
one that includes international banking and the IFSC.
The Federation of International Banks in Ireland has long pushed for a minister
to cover the financial services hub and help further its success.
The National Asset Management Agency is set to step up its
involvement in the Dublin property market as part of a new push by the Coalition
to boost housing supply in the city and its hinterland.
The plan to intensify Nama’s lending activities comes as it works to complete
the disposal of its assets by 2018, two years earlier than planned at the outset
of the “bad bank” initiative.
The agency has reserves of some €2 billion at its disposal but more may be in
play as part of the drive to tackle the shortage of new homes and offices.
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and Nama chairman Frank Daly will publish a
formal review of the agency’s operations today and unveil its strategy for the
After the Government pledged last week to take new steps to tackle the housing
shortage in Dublin particularly, Nama will now work as the market recovers to
step up its lending and development activities.
The Obama administration has added its voice to the growing
chorus of criticism of US companies shifting their legal addresses overseas, in
many cases to Ireland, urging Congress to curb the tax-cutting practice.
The Wall Street Journal reported late on Tuesday that US treasury secretary Jack
Lew urged members of Congress in a letter to pass legislation immediately “to
shut down this abuse of our tax system.”
The US administration joined critics of a practice known as “inversions” where a
US company acquires or merges with a foreign company allowing the firm to
relocate its legal address for tax purposes to a low corporate-tax country such
as Ireland where the rate is 12.5 per cent avoiding the higher US corporation
tax rate of 35 per cent.
Chris Johns: It is usually at this time of year that stories
appear about some poor soul unwittingly incurring huge mobile phone roaming
charges while on holiday. Coincidentally, it is also the time of year that
mobile phone companies announce lower roaming charges in Europe.
For once, we have reason to thank Brussels bureaucrats: several years ago they
took aim at the pricing policies of phone companies and have been hacking away
at their charges ever since.
The European Commission began its efforts by merely publicising, via a consumer
website launched in 2005, just how high roaming charges were. If this was an
attempt to shame mobile phone operators into lowering prices it didn’t work.
Legislation swiftly followed and there has been a mandated gradual reduction in
roaming prices every year since 2007.
The special liquidator’s report into IBRC will be sent to the
Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) "imminently", according
A spokesman for KPMG, the special liquidators of IBRC, said the report “is in
progress” but declined to comment on when exactly it would be delivered to the
The contents of the report are confidential and will not be released to the
Under Section 56 of the Company Law Enforcement Act, all liquidators have to
make a report for the ODCE.
These reports indicate, among other matters, whether the liquidator is seeking
relief from the obligation that ordinarily exists to take restriction
proceedings against the directors of a company.
Euro Topics: Juncker a boon for the people of
Europe: Before being confirmed as EU Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker
on Tuesday presented a ten-point plan for boosting growth in the Union and
creating new jobs. He's got his work cut out for him on other fronts as
well, the state-run liberal Austrian daily Wiener Zeitung comments: "The biggest
hurdle is no doubt the task he set himself in his election campaign: the energy
union. An integrated energy market will pose quite a challenge for Austria too,
because nowhere else in Europe is nuclear energy frowned upon to the extent it
is here. ... The implementation of a common defence strategy is also unlikely to
meet with universal enthusiasm, especially not from the British, who are already
critical of the EU. All in all Juncker's appointment as Commission president is
a good thing for the EU. He's as familiar with the national reflexes of the
heads of government as he is with the Brussels bureaucracy. ... And he's a
tougher nut than Barroso was. The Luxembourger will be more politically active
than the Portuguese technocrat. For the people of Europe that's a definite
Incompetent new boss: There's no point
entertaining any illusions about the new European Commission President
Jean-Claude Juncker, the liberal Slovenian daily Sme believes:
"He's the embodiment of the trend to select someone for the top
post in the EU not according to his abilities, but according to how little he
gets in the way of the leaders of the member states. ... Taken in itself, this
result is better than if the leaders of the biggest states had selected him
among themselves without even paying lip service to what the voters want. So
with this move the Union has taken a small step toward solving one of its major
problems: the democratic deficit. So much for the good news. Let us recall
Juncker's frank words: 'We'll take a decision and wait things out. If there's no
big outcry or most people don't even understand what was decided, we'll continue
step by step until there can be no backtracking.' Normally such a statement
would be enough to end a political career. In Brussels, however, it singles you
out as a wise politician."
Cameron struggle against EU continues: British Prime Minister David Cameron
appointed Defence Secretary Philip Hammond as the new Foreign Secretary on
Tuesday. At the same time he announced that conservative business manager
Jonathan Hill is to become the UK's EU Commissioner. Cameron is continuing
his war against the EU and Jean-Claude Juncker, the liberal Italian daily La
Stampa observes: "While Juncker was being installed as president of the
European Commission in Strasbourg, his arch-enemy David Cameron was sending him
worrying signals from London. ... If Hammond's nomination is a bid to curry
favour among the Eurosceptic wing of the party, the appointment of Jonathan
Hill, the Leader of the House of Lords, as EU commissioner is a surprising move.
It disappoints expectations that a more well-known figure would occupy the post.
The UK is aiming for key posts, for example that of Commissioner of Internal
Market and Services or Commissioner for Competition. Juncker had expressly said
that a female candidate would have higher chances of success. Cameron has opted
for an ex-lobbyist instead. Hill is not a declared Eurosceptic but he is against
any further EU integration."