An unhealthy health sector

Posted on by Sean Whelan

Ireland is still paying more than the EU average for health - but the benefits of this are less than obvious

Ireland is still paying more than the EU average for health – but the benefits of this are less than obvious

By Economics Correspondent Sean Whelan

One of the things regretted by senior officials in the Department of Finance is that they didn’t include reform of Health spending in the Troika bailout programme from day one.

Instead it crept into the programme around half way through, so a lot of the impetus for taking hard decisions was lost.

The consequences of that loss of impetus were laid out in an EU report this week. Continue reading

Mobile World Congress 2015 – what to expect

Posted on by Will Goodbody

Wearables are likely to be a big area of interest again this year at Mobile World Congress

Wearables are likely to be a big area of interest again this year at Mobile World Congress

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent

It’s the event that gets the hearts of mobile geeks racing (no seriously, it does). The world’s largest event for the mobile industry is about to kick off in Barcelona. Running from March 2-5, Mobile World Congress (MWC) is expected to attract around 90,000 visitors this year, who will come to see 2000 exhibitors across an exhausting 100,000 square metres of exhibition space.

So what can we expect?

Well as far as trends are concerned, the fast growing Internet of Things  sector (connected devices that can talk to you and to each other over the internet) will undoubtedly steal some of the headlines. The theme of the show is “The edge of innovation”, so analysts are expecting even more new connected gizmos and demonstrations about how they fit into our lives.

Continue reading

The value of a Heathrow slot

Posted on by Sean Whelan

How much are Aer Lingus' Heathrow slots actually worth?

How much are Aer Lingus’ Heathrow slots actually worth?

By Economics Correspondent Sean Whelan

UCD Economist Colm McCarthy presented a paper on the hot topic of Aer Lingus slots at Heathrow Airport at an IrishEconomy.ie conference in Dublin today, making some interesting points in the process.

He begins by setting out some basic facts about slots, Heathrow, and the two airlines at the heart of this matter – British Airways and Aer Lingus. Continue reading

Sunshine is the best disinfectant

Posted on by David Murphy

Should the country prioritise private debt over what the State owes?

Banks are required to meet certain targets around customers in mortgage arrears

By Business Editor David Murphy

Many people were glad to see the end of Ireland’s EU-IMF bailout.

Leaving it behind shows the country is moving in the right direction, although it is far from the national victory portrayed by some politicians.

But the experience of an external force calling the Irish authorities to attention had benefits, too. There were parallels with the way tougher regulation of bankers fostered better behaviour. Continue reading

The cost of a Greek default

Posted on by Sean Whelan

greece

S&P and several others think a Greek default is manageable now

If Greece defaults, we – Ireland – stand to lose €1.7 billion, according to Standard and Poor’s.

And most of that loss falls on the Central Bank, the most profitable bank in the country, not the Government, which is only liable for €347m in bilateral loans.

Of course the Government’s own sums rely on the Central Bank paying back up the usual billion in dividend, rather than writing it off on a Greek default.

That, and the bilateral loan loss, would be enough to undermine the overarching budget objective of getting the deficit below 3% of GDP this year, such is the tight margin that the Government set in order to fund tax cuts and spending rises this year.

Continue reading

Oh my – the problems with public wifi

Posted on by Will Goodbody

"Free" wifi often comes with many conditions attached

“Free” wifi often comes with many conditions attached

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent

I don’t like to rant – well actually I do. But there are few things that get me more exercised than free public wifi.

You know the story. You arrive in a cafe, airport, hotel, conference centre.

The sign on the wall says there is free wifi available and because you are looking to increase your speed online and decrease your mobile data usage, you decide to use it.

You are given, or are pointed towards, a network, username and password.

First you have to find the right network from the list – usually relatively straightforward, unless there are multiple to choose from.

Next comes the tedious task of typing in convoluted credentials to allow you to connect.

Continue reading

Honohan on the ‘what if’ of the bank guarantee

Posted on by Sean Whelan

Central Bank Governor Patrick Honohan has given a considered response to the Government's options before the bank guarantee

Central Bank Governor Patrick Honohan has given a considered response on the Government’s options before the bank guarantee

By Economics Correspondent Sean Whelan

Central Bank Governor Patrick Honohan has published a letter to the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry, following up a couple of points arising from his appearance there on 15 January.

After that event, he was asked if his views on what should have been done with Anglo Irish Bank in September 2008 have changed since he completed his report on the banking crisis in 2010.

The Governor says in his letter there hasn’t been much “evolution in my thinking on this”, but concedes that from reading the official record of the committee, a different impression may have been conveyed.  Continue reading

IXV proves sky’s the limit for space research here

Posted on by Will Goodbody

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By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent

It’s not everyday that a new spacecraft is born. But this Wednesday is one of them.

Around 1pm Irish time (weather and technicalities permitting) the Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle or IXV, will blast off on a Vega rocket from Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana.

Its near two hour mission is straightforward. In basic terms, IXV is the prototype for the first spacecraft to be built in Europe that can not only travel into space, but also make it back again without burning up on re-entry. Continue reading

An assessment of Willie Walsh’s Aer Lingus bid

Posted on by David Murphy

aerlingusblog

By Business Editor David Murphy

For somebody who is so well versed in public relations and politics – Willie Walsh has been surprisingly inept in his handling of his bid for Aer Lingus.

Mr Walsh’s appeasement statement this week attempted to stem the rising tide of defiance to a takeover. In fairness, he made three significant concessions: the Heathrow slots can’t be sold, the slots will be used for flights to Ireland for five years, and the Aer Lingus name and head office location can’t be changed.

Continue reading

Selling Aer Lingus to Willie Walsh is not just about money

Posted on by David Murphy

Willie Walsh may yet call the shots at Aer Lingus, having stepped down as CEO in 2005

Willie Walsh may yet call the shots at Aer Lingus, having stepped down as CEO in 2005

By Business Editor David Murphy

Comment via Twitter

Slowly the tide is coming in – Aer Lingus seems destined to be taken over by British Airways’ parent group International Airlines Group (IAG).

It has made two offers for the Irish airline and a third seems imminent.

But what would a takeover mean for travellers to and from Ireland? And will it be a beneficial development? Continue reading

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