It may be Europe's largest web technology conference with almost 22,000 people bustling through the doors of Dublin's RDS today, but many people might still ask: what is the Web Summit for?
Is it for geeks? Is it for product launches? Or is it part of a trend that is big because of the search for 'the next big thing'?
Partly, it is all of the above. But there is no questioning that the wider economic impact that the conference has had on Dublin's technology scene. Several high-profile companies have set up in Dublin in the aftermath of visiting the Web Summit.
Dropbox is one. Having originally come to Dublin in 2011 for the Web Summit, it announced a Dublin office subsequently. Twitter is another. Jack Dorsey first came to the Web Summit in 2010. A year later, Twitter announced its Dublin office. It employs 200 people here and is expanding rapidly.
1,300 people who find themselves in mortgage arrears with AIB have found resolutions in the last year.
In 2013 the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation entered into an arrangement to act as a broker to offer advice to borrowers in their dealings with AIB.
The scheme was launched as a pilot but has proved to be a success and will now be extended for another 12 months.
The scheme now receives around 125 calls a day.
Between 75-100 of those deals already struck involved debt write-down on family home mortgages of €1,000-190,000, where the families were allowed to stay living in their homes.
Some 279 resolutions included debt write-down involving properties which were then voluntarily sold. Many of these properties in the buy-to-let sector.
THE Government will borrow up to €4bn today in the first of what will be a series of bond deals aimed at repaying costly IMF bailout loans early, the Irish Independent has learned.
Analyst Ryan McGrath of Cantor Fitzgerald said he expects the yield - or effective rate of interest on the new bonds - to be 2.5pc.
That is half the interest rate charged by the IMF for its share of the EU/IMF bailout.
The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), which manages the national debt, said yesterday that it has hired CITI, Danske Bank, Davy, Morgan Stanley, Nomura and Royal Bank of Scotland as joint lead managers to arrange a 15-year bond deal.
It will be the longest term debt raised by the State on the private money markets since 2009.
The NTMA declined to say how much will be raised, when the deal will happen, or what how proceeds of the "benchmark" bond deal will be used.
The Government is considering measures to ensure the total water charges bill for families with adult children comes in well below the maximum €424 that will be levied on households that fail to register with Irish Water.
While the broad thrust of the Coalition’s revised water package has now emerged, the Economic Management Council (EMC) will meet again this week to consider the plan in further detail.
The Cabinet holds its weekly meeting today, while the EMC meets tomorrow. Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly last night said the final plan would be unveiled next week, promising the charges would be “modest”, and Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the Government would bring clarity on the issue “very soon”.
Family doctors are to be given the option of charging patients a nominal fee when free GP care is introduced for under-6s and all over-70s next year.
The amount is likely to be about €5, the level of “co-payment” sought by the Department of Public Expenditure.
The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has strongly opposed the introduction of any co-payments as part of the scheme, but individual GPs who were surveyed in a recent study favoured their introduction as a way of discouraging inappropriate attendances.
Asked whether he favoured the imposition of charges, Minister for Health Leo Varadkar described the IMO research as convincing, but said he was also taking account of the views of GPs expressed in the survey.
“On that basis, GPs may be given an option to charge a nominal co-payment at their own discretion,” he said.
Europe’s largest technology conference, the Web Summit, gets underway in Dublin today with more than 20,000 people expected to attend the three-day event in the RDS.
The heads of Dropbox, Stripe, Google, Amazon, Cisco, Tinder and Hailo will be in Dublin for the event, which will see 2,000 start-ups exhibiting to the partners of the world’s top venture capital firms.
Paypal co-founder Max Levchin, Facebook’s first investor Peter Thiel, former Apple CEO John Sculley, Zynga founder Mark Pincus, actress Eva Longoria, supermodel Lily Cole, English footballer Rio Ferdinand, U2 frontman Bono and Irish rugby player Jamie Heaslip will be among the 500 plus speakers at the event.
The European Central Bank will not improve the terms of its ultra-cheap long-term loans for now, though this may change if it becomes clear that the eurozone economy is taking another turn for the worse, several sources told Reuters.
Banks will get their second chance to get the ECB’s four-year ‘TLTRO’ loans on December 11.
Following low demand at the first round in September, some analysts have speculated that the ECB will look to make this offering more attractive.
JP Morgan has said it expects that the fixed rates on the loans will be cut by 10 basis points to leave it flush with the ECB’s 0.05% main interest rate and that the amounts banks are allowed to take will be upped.
Euro Topics: Sweden's Riksbank out of touch with reality: Sweden's central bank, the Riksbank, lowered its base interest rate to 0.0 percent on Thursday. The liberal daily Dagens Nyheter says this step comes far too late: "Time and again the economic forecasts of the Riksbank have proven wrong. The rising inflation it mentioned so often never materialised. But that didn't stop the bank's management from spreading false prognoses. Nor was it swayed by the growing internal criticism from the Riksbank's deputy governors Lars E. O. Svensson and Karolina Ekholm. It simply continued as before. ... If the map doesn't correspond to reality they stick with what the map says and talk about a different reality."
Cameron's copycats endanger freedom of movement: British Prime Minister David Cameron is planning to curtail immigration by introducing a quota system which would also apply to nationals from other EU countries. The liberal daily Postimees fears the step could be copied elsewhere and endanger the free movement of persons as a guiding principle of the EU: "More is at stake here than Britain's domestic problems. The United Kingdom is not the only EU country with conservative views about workers from other countries. This is not just about the fears that foreign workers are taking away jobs from local residents, but also about basic cultural differences. Belgium is worried about the aggressive driving behaviour of immigrant lorry drivers, in other member states people are worried about other things. Every country has fears of its own. In times when Euroscepticism is on the rise, other governments could also come under pressure from voters."
Berlin Wall the best anti-Brexit argument: This week will mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The event testifies to the success of the EU as a peace project, and should show the British that leaving the Union would be a mistake, former British minister of state for business Pat McFadden writes in the left-liberal daily The Guardian: "Twenty-five years after the fall of the wall, turning our backs on the EU and erecting a new kind of wall between Britain and the rest of Europe would be bad for jobs and investment and would ignore the historic victory in which we played such a vital part. For a Conservative prime minister to lead Britain out of the EU either by design or, perhaps even worse, by default would be a complete failure of leadership. Our task is to make the most of the much more interconnected world we helped to bring about rather than recoiling from its results."