NOONAN CONFIRMS NTMA HAD 14 STAFF EARNINGS OVER €200,000 LAST YEAR - The Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has confirmed that 14 members of staff at the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) were in receipt of salaries exceeding €200,000 last year - even after the public sector pay cuts imposed last July. In a written Dáil response to Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty, Mr Noonan confirmed that at the end of December 31st last, one employee of the NTMA was earning more than €400,000, with three others earning between €300,000 and €400,000. The three earning between €300,000 and €400,000 include two from the National Asset Management Agency, which falls under the NTMA’s aegis, writes the Irish Times. At the end of December last, the NTMA employed 325, with NAMA employing 332. Minister Noonan confirmed that 10 employees of the NTMA and NAMA earned between €200,000 and €300,000. Eight such individuals were at the NTMA, with two at NAMA. The Minister further confirmed that there were an additional 162 employees at the agencies in receipt of salaries between €100,000 and €200,000, 105 from NAMA and 57 from the NTMA.
DEPARTMENTS PAID €7.6m TO LEGAL AND CONSULTANCY FIRMS - Legal and consultancy firms were the big winners in the €7.6m paid out last year by the Government’s two finance departments, reports the Irish Examiner. The Department of Public Expenditure last year paid out €4.3m to consultants, while the Department of Finance paid €3.3m to consultants during the 12 month period. In figures provided to Independent TD Tom Fleming, Finance Minister Michael Noonan confirmed €739,854 was paid out by his department to Matheson for legal advice relating to the acquisition and sale of Irish Life. Mr Noonan revealed that the largest pay-out by the department last year was to legal firm, Arthur Cox, which received €1.72m for legal advice on restructuring of the banking system.Between May 2011 and December 2013, Arthur Cox received a total of €5.37m in fees from the department, he stated. The minister also confirmed that Mercer (Ireland) Ltd received €146,370 concerning its review on the remuneration practices and frameworks at the financial institutions that were subject to the Government’s bailout. He also confirmed NAMA received €381,494 for advice it provided to the ministerial advisory group.
THE S QUARE LATEST NAMA-BACKED SHOPPING CENTRE TO TAKE LEGAL ACTION AGAINST DUNNES STORES - The Square in Tallaght has taken legal action against Dunnes Stores in the latest in a string of actions by NAMA-backed shopping centres against the grocery giant, says today's Irish Independent. Papers filed with the High Court show Square Management Ltd has initiated a legal case for summary judgment against Dunnes Stores Dublin Ltd, the first stage in trying to recover a claimed debt through the courts. Square Management is the company behind the Square Shopping Centre in Tallaght, where Dunnes is one of the anchor shops. Accounts for loss-making Square Management show it is reliant on the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) for financial support, including rolling over debts of €17m owed to the agency that would otherwise be payable on demand, and deferring interest on the loans. According to the High Court filing, the case was being initiated against Dunnes Stores Dublin Ltd, part of the wider Dunnes Stores group.
MARK CARNEY WARNS SCOTLAND OVER CURRENCY UNION HOPES - An independent Scotland would have to surrender some sovereignty in a monetary union with the UK, Mark Carney has warned. In his first major intervention on the politically charged issue of Scottish independence, the Bank of England governor said London and Edinburgh would need to “consider carefully” how to set up a durable currency union in the event of Scottish independence, given the “clear risks if these foundations are not in place”. He said any such union would need to avoid the mistakes of the crisis-stricken euro zone, writes the Financial Times. The Scottish government has said it would want to keep sterling as part of a formal currency union in the event of Scots voting for independence in a referendum in September. But the UK Treasury says it is highly unlikely that such an agreement could be reached. “A durable, successful currency union requires some ceding of national sovereignty,” Mr Carney said in a speech in Edinburgh, which followed a first private meeting with Scotland’s first minister Alex Salmond.