• Johnson plans big rise in funding for hard Brexit. Boris Johnson’s government is planning a huge increase in funding for a no-deal Brexit after one of his ministers said its working assumption was that the UK would leave the European Union without a deal on October 31st. The Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid promised “significant extra funding” for hundreds of new Border Force officers and infrastructural improvements. He did not specify the size of the extra investment but reports suggest it could be as much as £1 billion.
• Opening of Ireland’s longest bridge delayed. The opening of the €230 million New Ross bypass in Co Wexford has been delayed by more than six months because of complexities in the construction of what is to be Ireland’s longest bridge. The bridge, to be called the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Bridge, crosses the river Barrow to the south of New Ross, connecting Stokestown in Co Wexford and Pink Point in Co Kilkenny. At 887 metres long, the extradosed type bridge is the longest of its kind in the world.
• Garda replaces Huawei tech equipment. An Garda Síochána has moved to replace IT equipment made by Chinese computer company Huawei. Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said only pieces of Huawei equipment used by the force are “branded modems supplied by mobile network operators”. Mr Flanagan said “these external modems are being phased out, as they are being replaced by laptops with an internal modem”.
• HSE spends €900,000 a day on agency staff. More than €32 million was spent on agency nurses in the first five months of the year.
• Government could face major challenge from unions on pay strategy. The Government’s public service pay strategy could face a major challenge in the coming weeks if it does not agree to calls by trade unions for a review of the current public pay agreement to take account of rising inflation, economic growth and emerging wage pressures.
• Private schools subsidised by €90m last year. Fee-paying schools account for 7% of secondary school enrolments nationally. Most private schools in the south Dublin area are oversubscribed and have long waiting lists for day pupils. St Columba’s is the most expensive school for day pupils (€8,000), followed by Sutton Park in Dublin 13 (€7,900), Alexandra College, Dublin 6 (€7,386), St Gerard’s, Bray (€7,339) and Sandford Park in Ranelagh (€7,150).
• Leinster House set to reopen after €17m renovation. Extensive refurbishment works on Leinster House will be completed by the beginning of August at a total cost of just over €17 million, the Office of Public Works has confirmed.
• Lane and Honohan raised bank governor concerns. Philip Lane and Patrick Honohan both privately raised concerns regarding different aspects of Gabriel Makhlouf assuming the role of governor of the Central Bank. Mr Makhlouf was approved by the Government in May and will take up the €286,760 post in September. The new Central Bank chief was recently caught up in controversy in New Zealand. Mr Makhlouf claimed the accidental leak of sensitive budgetary material was a result of a hack, but a follow-up police inquiry found no evidence of a hack.
• New concerns over children’s hospital design. Potential issues include air quality in theatres and isolation room doors.
• TD rebuked by FF after breaking ranks on Brexit. Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has moved to reassert his party’s position on Brexit after one of his senior TDs accused Taoiseach Leo Varadkar of failing “to engage in basic diplomacy”. Timmy Dooley, the Clare TD and communications spokesman tweeted that a “standoff” with the UK was a “direct result of Taoiseach Varadkar’s failure to engage in basic diplomacy over the past 2 years”.
Business and Economy
• Bank of Ireland looks to cut costs due to Brexit and ultra-low ECB rates. Bank of Ireland, which has cut almost 500 jobs in the past year and a half, has signalled it will have to find more cost savings in the coming years as uncertainty over Brexit and lower for longer European Central Bank (ECB) interest rates threaten its ability to deliver on growth targets outlined a year ago. Bank reports underlying profits fell 25% to €376 million for first half of year.
Business and Economy (continued)
• OECD corporate tax proposals pose threat to Ireland, say experts. Proposals to impose a minimum tax on the profits of major multinationals is the biggest threat to Ireland from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) tax process, Irish tax experts say. The proposal to introduce a minimum effective tax rate on corporate profits is seen as the biggest issue for Ireland. This would oblige companies to pay a “top-up” if the rate of their profits had been taxed at is lower than the minimum set. Companies paying tax here ‘may need to get ready to pay tax in other jurisdictions where they have a digital footprint’.
• Foreign nationals critical for growth, says Central Bank. Net inward migration will be the most important source of new employees if the economy continues to grow. The latest estimates from the Central Statistics Office indicate that net inward migration rose by 34,000 last year. According to a Central Bank report foreign nationals currently fill about 10 per cent of gross new jobs. One in five new roles is filled by people who are unemployed, with 34 per cent accounted for by employed people switching roles. The Central Bank study notes that the majority of migrants entering the Republic to work are highly skilled, with most holding at least third-level qualifications.
• Three revenues rise to €296m in first half as firm plans ‘aggressive’ 5G rollout. Three’s active customer base in Ireland rose by 7 per cent over the first half of the year to 2.3 million, according to figures released yesterday in Hong Kong by its parent group, Hutchison Whampoa. The company spent €56 million upgrading its network over the first six months of the year. The company remains on course to begin a limited 5G rollout later this year, followed by an “aggressive” rollout of services in 2020.