RYANAIR SECURES COMPENSATION DEAL FROM BOEING - Ryanair has struck an agreement with Boeing worth hundreds of millions of euro to the Irish company in compensation for the worldwide grounding of the US aircraft-maker's 737 Max jet, the Irish Independent has learned. 

The agreement involves money already owed by Ryanair to Boeing, it's understood. Ryanair is one of Boeing's biggest customers and the main operator in the world of its 737-800 aircraft. The airline has 135 firm orders placed for Boeing Max jets, and an option on 75 more. The core Ryanair fleet consists of 455 Boeing 737 aircraft. The agreement reached is likely to put pressure on the aircraft-maker to seal deals with other airlines such as Norwegian, which have also said they want compensation following the Max groundings. Norwegian was already operating a number of the jets, including on routes between Ireland and the United States. The chairman of Turkish Airlines, Ilker Ayci, is meeting today with Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg to discuss terms of Max compensation. Turkish Airlines has 12 of the jets grounded, which the chairman said resulted in losses, and capacity and frequency issues. Neither Ryanair nor Boeing would confirm or comment when asked about the agreement struck between them. "Boeing doesn't discuss conversations we have with our customers," said a spokesman.

BORD GÁIS ENERGY MAY BUILD SECOND POWER PLANT - Bord Gáis Energy may build a second power plant to cash in on the Republic's growing appetite for electricity, says its managing director, Catherine O'Kelly. 

The former State utility, now part of British group Centrica, owns a gas-fired electricity generating plant in Whitegate, Co Cork, which it built for more than €400 million. In an interview with The Irish Times, Ms O'Kelly says that the company is "certainly looking at" building another power plant as there is a need for new supply to match growing electricity demand. "Part of being a customer supply business in Ireland is ensuring that you’ve got the supply to back that up," she points out. The Bord Gáis MD notes that demand for electricity is increasing as the economy expands and multinationals build new data centres close to cities such as Dublin and Galway. Data centres could double demand for electricity in the Dublin area by 2028. Meanwhile, official figures show that the Republic’s overall need for power could increase by one-third to 40 terawatt hours - enough for 40 million homes - by 2027. Ms O'Kelly does not specify if the new plant will be gas-fired, like Whitegate, or powered by renewable energy. She also agrees with a recent International Energy Agency recommendation that the Republic should consider building a plant to convert liquid natural gas (LNG) back to gas to help safeguard supplies.

BANNING OFFSHORE DRILLING WOULD HAMPER RURAL IRISH ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, CANADIANS WARN - A ban on drilling for oil and gas in Irish waters would seriously hamper the chance to economically develop large parts of rural Ireland, an international business group has warned. 

The Ireland-Canada Business Association (ICBA) counts among its members energy firms from both countries. It has attacked proposed legislation targeting a ban on offshore drilling in Irish waters and has urged politicians to consider the challenges facing Ireland in securing its own energy supply, says the Irish Examiner. People Before Profit's Climate Emergency Measures Bill is currently at committee stage in the Oireachtas and the party is confident of it being passed into law. However, ICBA has echoed the Irish Offshore Operators' Association in arguing that the bill will have "little or no positive impact" on reducing Ireland's emissions and said it could result in Ireland becoming dependent on imported energy supplies "for decades to come".

If Ireland is forced into importing all of its gas needs from places like Russia, transportation and less efficient non-EU production would only increase the country's carbon footprint, it said. 


WELLBEING SHOULD REPLACE GROWTH AS 'MAIN AIM OF UK SPENDING' - Personal wellbeing rather than economic growth should be the primary aim of government spending, according to a report by the former head of the civil service and politicians.

Launching a report urging a sea change in thinking from ministers, Gus O’Donnell, who served as cabinet secretary to three prime ministers, said Britain could lead the world by making wellbeing the goal of government policy. The call to unseat growth as the main measure of government success comes as the Treasury gears up for a three-year spending review, due this summer, which has been scheduled despite the Brexit turmoil gripping the Tories. Speaking to the Guardian, O’Donnell said: "This is a particularly important moment in time, where one hopes that this spending review will be taking place - possibly with a different prime minister and with the Brexit issue resolved one way or another. We have an opportunity to focus on all the things that we haven’t been focusing on over the past three years, to set a new direction and a new vision." The paper, from the all-party parliamentary group on wellbeing economics, written by O’Donnell and other leading MPs and peers, calls on the government to use the spending review to boost its funding for mental health services, teaching in schools and social care by an extra £10 billion within five years to raise the wellbeing of citizens. It found happiness, fulfilment and the reduction of anxiety, rather than growth or jobs, was the main determinant of whether governments satisfied voters, and called on ministers to implement changes to focus on such metrics.