← Older posts Newer posts →

Cold Comfort: Iceland after the crash

Posted on by David Murphy

Iceland1

Iceland’s decision to let its banking system fail has not saved it from a difficult economic situation

By David Murphy, Business Editor

Comment on this article via Twitter

This time three years ago, Ireland put €24bn into its banks to keep them afloat. It was hoped it would be the last occasion when the taxpayer would be tapped to fix the country’s lenders.

But another island in the North Atlantic allowed its banks fail in 2008 instead of rescuing them.

Now that both countries are recovering, it is worth examining how Iceland fared after its own decision to burn the bondholders and start new banks from the ashes.

Continue reading

NCC warning on competitiveness challenges

Posted on by Sean Whelan

 

euro

The NCC says Ireland is still a high-cost place to do business

At least the National Competitiveness Council hasn’t been taken in by the hype over property prices.

It clearly sees the dangers of rapidly rising house prices and rental costs – at least from a cost competitiveness point of view.  It notes a recent Fitch report on Irish housing costs, which said that house price affordability in Ireland compared favourably with a range of benchmarked European Economies, and is broadly similar to the affordability ratio in the UK.

But it also notes the significant shift in house price trends here, with a return to house price growth  -  up 3.7% on an annual basis in the third quarter.  Meanwhile house prices in the Euro area as a whole fell 1.3% in the same period. It warns that “this will have an adverse impact on affordability, and could have a knock on impact on wage costs”.

Continue reading

Housing market isn’t playing by the rules

Posted on by David Murphy

It is difficult to say exactly what is happening to the housing sector – but the market certainly is not behaving as it should.

lending-chart

Above is the latest information from the Central Bank regarding lending to Irish households. The red line shows that the total lending for buying a home is continuing to fall. That is partly explained by people paying back loans faster than home buyers are taking new mortgages.

Negative equity, the belief that prices could recover further and potential loss of low-interest tracker mortgages could all be factors which discourage people from selling homes.

Continue reading

10 questions about the end of Microsoft XP support answered

Posted on by Will Goodbody

Microsoft thinks its time people moved to its newer operating systems

Microsoft thinks it is time people moved to newer operating systems

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent

@willgoodbody

WHAT IS ALL THIS FUSS ABOUT WINDOWS XP?

Like most software developers, Microsoft sends out regular updates to its operating systems and other programs. These patch over any vulnerabilities that have emerged, which could allow hackers and viruses backdoor access to the software, and by extension the computer. On April 8th – that’s this day next week – the company will cease sending out updates and providing support services for Windows XP, the operating system it released in 2001.

Continue reading

Intel Inside the Irish economy

Posted on by Will Goodbody

20140327-224337.jpg

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent

@willgoodbody

In 1989, when Intel announced it was to begin manufacturing computer motherboards in Ireland, the then Minister for Industry and Commerce, Dessie O’Malley, made some projections about likely employment arising from the project over the following five to 10 years.

As so often is the case with political projections, they were to prove very wrong. But in a good way. Because in the end the number of jobs created by Intel in that period was more than double what had been expected, as was the level of investment.

Continue reading

AIB bites the bullet, how long before other banks wake up?

Posted on by David Murphy

arrears

AIB has taken a refreshing approach to the problem of mortgage arrears

For five years, politicians have been carping about the slow-learning banks not writing off mortgage debt for homeowners in arrears. Now AIB is doing just that. But its actions are not being met with universal approval from public representatives.

Fianna Fáil’s Michael McGrath said whether a family gets a sustainable solution to its mortgage headache depends on which bank provided them with their loan.

Independent TD Stephen Donnelly said he “welcomed” the development but called for a more “systemic” approach. He remarked that although AIB restructured their mortgage, in one case the family involved still had problems with other unsecured debts to credit card companies or credit unions.

Continue reading

How Ireland could make a Big Bang in astronomical science

Posted on by Will Goodbody

I-LOFAR thinks Ireland could become a star of astronomical research

I-LOFAR thinks Ireland could become a star of astronomical research

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent

@willgoodbody

On St Patrick’s Day, as we marked our national holiday, a substantial breakthrough in cosmology and astrophysics was announced by a team of scientists in the US. They revealed that for the first time, they had recorded an echo of gravitational waves – signals emitted in the immediate aftermath of the Big Bang.

The discovery was made using a specialist telescope based in the inhospitable environs of the South Pole. It’s a big deal, as it goes a long way towards proving some pretty important physics theories about what happened during the dawn of the universe, and could help us to answer the most fundamental question of all – why the Big Bang took place.

Continue reading

Spotlight turns to SME debt

Posted on by David Murphy

morgan kelly

Morgan Kelly believes that the ECB is going to get tough on Irish SMEs

By Business Editor David Murphy

Whether he is right or wrong, UCD economist Morgan Kelly always has the ability to put the fear of God into the Irish authorities.

When he predicts a financial maelstrom, it is always worth taking notice.
Continue reading

The challenges of reporting on academic papers

Posted on by Will Goodbody

 

Haruko Obokata and Teruhiko Wakayama were among the authors of the paper

Haruko Obokata and Teruhiko Wakayama were among the authors of the paper

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent

@willgoodbody

The latest controversy to hit the world of academic publishing is a curious tale. On 29th January, the respected international journal, Nature, published a paper by Japanese and US scientists, which claimed a significant breakthrough in the manufacturing of adult stem cells. The team’s research asserted that they had found a way to reprogramme mature animal cells into an embryonic state by shocking them in acid. The implication was that if this STAP method could be replicated in humans, it would usher in a whole new era of regenerative medicine, potentially providing a means of reversing some of the effects of the most serious degenerative diseases and conditions.  Put simply, it seemed like a big deal.

Continue reading

Is it possible to fall in love with a computer?

Posted on by Will Goodbody

In "Her" Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore, who falls in love with Samantha the computer

In “Her” Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore, who falls in love with Samantha the computer

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent

@willgoodbody

The movie “Her” was nominated for an Academy Award for best picture on Sunday night. Set a little in the future, the movie tells the story of a heartbroken man who falls in love with Samantha, a female sounding intelligent computer operating system.

The film didn’t win the Oscar, but has started something of a discussion about the potential extent of our interaction with computers and devices in the future. And it has provoked a bizarre yet obvious question: could a human ACTUALLY fall in love with a machine?

Continue reading

← Older posts Newer posts →