The chief executive of the Irish League of Credit Unions, Kieron Brennan, says that over the past 12 months the first signs of possible economic recovery are visible. 

According to a new tracker by the League, for all adults, monthly disposable income has increased by €13 since April 2013. For working adults, disposable income has increased by €20 since April 2013.

There has also been a fall in the number of people who say their disposable has decreased.

More people are in a position to save compared to this time last year - 44% now, compared to 39% last April.

“We’re seeing a gradual increase in disposable income,” said Mr Brennan. “It’s not that the amount of money going into households has increased rapidly, it’s just that people are managing it so much better.

“But there are still a lot of people in household pain out there”.

The credit union tracker, which has been published now for four years, follows how people around the country have been hit by austerity and recession, and records the impact the shift in the economy has had on family finances.

It says nearly 1.7 million people have €100 or less left at the end of the month after bills are paid, an increase of 32,000 on the December's figure.

Mr Brennan said people are getting better at managing their bills and expenses, saying that 60% of drivers surveyed had changed motor insurance provider in recent times in an effort to get a better deal.

“The majority of us are out there seeking value, and that’s pushing down prices,” he said. “And it’s good consumer behaviour learned during the crisis.”


Drinks group Diageo, which owns Guinness, Baileys and Smirnoff and more, reported a small increase in sales over the past nine months thanks to strong performance in North and South America.

In a trading statement this morning Diageo said sales for the nine months to the end of March were up 0.3%. 

That's despite weakness in Western Europe and South East Asia where Diageo says sales have suffered because of political instability in one of its key markets - Thailand.

Fortunes have been improving for the company in this part of the world. Diageo's Western Europe sales are down for the nine months as a whole but began to pick up over the past three months.


Google shares fell by 3% in after-hours trading after the company posted first-quarter earnings and sales that missed expectations. Of most concern was a 9% drop in payments from marketers per ad on Google sites. 

Analysts say Google's challenge is to convince marketers to pay as much for mobile ads as they do for desktop ads, as web use shifts to smartphones. 

Google still reported $15.4 billion in sales for the first three months of the year, up 19% on last year. 


And the value of the most valuable / or expensive ever golden parachute was revealed yesterday by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

It was paid to the former Yahoo chief operating officer, Henrique de Castro, and he left Yahoo with a severance package worth $58 million.
Mr de Castro worked at Yahoo for 15 months. 

Much of the $58 million severance package's value is attributable to Yahoo's rising stock price while de Castro was with the company. 


New public procurement guidelines - aimed at making it easier for small businesses to bid for work across the public sector - will be announced later today by Minister Brian Hayes.

The new guidelines should make public procurement more accessible by SMEs and groups of small companies.