Today in the pressThursday 11 July 2013 14.39
CENTRAL BANK'S NEW IT SYSTEM CRASHES - The Central Bank’s new multi-million euro outsourced computer system has already crashed following a power outage at Hewlett Packard which has been hired to handle the bank’s IT systems. The outage lasted for 15 minutes following a power cut at Hewlett Packard’s Santry facility where the servers for the Central Bank’s systems are located, writes the Irish Examiner. In response to a question from Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty, the Minister for Finance Micheal Noonan confirmed that the system had been cut off, but he said that the impact had been minimal. “I am informed by the Central Bank that as a result of facilities works at the HP Santry data centre on June 21, a power interruption lasting 15 minutes took place. “The impact was minor and did not interrupt any business service of the Central Bank. I am also informed that migration to the HP data centre is in its early stages and the bulk of services are not yet live. Accordingly, it was not necessary to consider invoking service continuity procedures,” he said. Hewlett Packard will be handling all of the bank’s IT systems when the outsourcing of the computer framework is completed. The data, which is considered extremely sensitive, will be hosted outside of the Central Bank at Hewlett Packard’s facility, which has prompted questions over the security of the information.
SUMMONS SERVICED ON AUDITORS OF QUINN INSURANCE - The High Court yesterday gave the go-ahead for the serving of a summons on PricewaterhouseCoopers in a case where the administrators of Quinn Insurance are seeking damages arising from the accountancy firm’s work as auditors to the collapsed group. It is understood the summons was served yesterday on a partner from the firm as part of a process where an application is expected to be made shortly to the Commercial Court for the hearing of the case there, writes the Irish Times. Losses from the insurance group formerly owned by the family of bankrupt businessman Seán Quinn are expected to cost the Insurance Compensation Fund up to €1.6 billion and have led to the introduction of a 2% levy on all home, motor and commercial insurance policies. Barrister Bernard Dunleavy, for the joint administrators Michael McAteer and Paul McCann of Grant Thornton, told the court that a report had been prepared by Michael Collins SC and Paul Gallagher SC covering the matters of guarantees and reserves, and it was considered appropriate that the case should go ahead. Minister for Finance Michael Noonan had been updated on the preparations for the case and had no objection to the course of action being taken, Mr Dunleavy said. An application would be made shortly to the Commercial Court.
ULSTER BANK CUTS TO HIT THE REPUBLIC WORST - The Republic will bear the brunt of planned job and branch cuts at Ulster Bank, the bank's Northern Ireland head told members of the Northern Ireland Assembly says the Irish Independent. Two-thirds of the 1,800 planned job losses and the majority of up to 60 branch closures will come from its Republic of Ireland operation, Ulster Bank's Northern Ireland and corporate banking head Ellvena Graham said. She was speaking in front of the Northern Ireland Assembly's committee for finance and personnel in Belfast yesterday. Ms Graham apologised for the mishandling of an investor presentation last week, where it appeared that the bank was seeking 1,800 fresh job cuts. "That was said completely out of context," she said. As previously reported, the 1,800 cuts will be made up "natural wastage" and 950 redundancies that have already been announced. About 350 of these redundancies concern Northern Irish employees, while 600 concern the Republic.
US AND EUROPEAN RETAILERS SPLIT ON BANGLADESH FACTORY SAFETY PLANS - US retailers have deepened a rift with their European rivals over factory safety in Bangladesh by launching an alternative reform plan that avoids accountability mechanisms accepted in Europe, writes today's Financial Times. Jay Jorgensen, chief compliance officer at Walmart, which played a central role in drawing up the US plan, said his company could not sign the European accord because it “would subject us to potentially unlimited legal liability and litigation”. The European plan is co-signed by labour unions and non-governmental organisations and enables them to file complaints against companies - and take them to arbitration - if they are suspected of not fulfilling their safety pledges. The safety initiatives were spurred by the death of 1,129 people in April when a Bangladeshi garment factory collapsed, the worst accident in the industry’s history. At a US launch event on Wednesday, Mr Jorgensen insisted that there were more similarities than differences between the US plan - signed by 17 groups including Gap, Target, Macy’s and JC Penney - and the European plan. Both include five-year commitments by multinationals to factory inspections, common safety standards, information sharing and better worker training, all underpinned by financial support.