What Friday's papers say

Twin strike threats; vulture fund's mortgage offer; Vat figures a relief

3rd February, 2017
The main headlines from today's newspapers

IRISH TIMES

- The Irish Times leads with news that tens of thousands of students and public transport users face the prospect of disruption in the coming weeks after secondary school teachers and Bus Éireann workers backed industrial action.

- In business, the paper says tax revenue in January was more than 6 per cent up on last year thanks to a pick-up in consumer spending over Christmas, which boosted VAT receipts.

- The Irish Times reports on comments from Finance Minister Michael Noonan, who told an Oireachtas committee yesterday that he cannot defend Apple's taking advantage of "mismatches" in tax laws of different countries to minimise its payments.

- The paper says German insurer Allianz is set to pay €160m to buy out the minority shareholders in its Irish subsidiary. This will net Irish Life more than €145m for its 30.4 per cent stake. Other minority shareholders own just over 3 per cent of the company.

FINANCIAL TIMES

- The Financial Times leads with the Bank of England's move yesterday to upgrade its British growth forecast significantly for the second time in six months in the latest indication that the central bank's outlook after the Brexit vote has proved overly pessimistic.

- The FT quotes one of the EU's most senior leaders, European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans, as saying that EU leaders should approach Brexit with a Hippocratic spirit and "do as little harm as possible".

- In companies news, the paper says Deutsche Bank was unable to match a spike in trading revenues enjoyed b US rivals at the end of 2016 and instead posted an unexpectedly large operating loss, leading investors to question whether efforts to cut its way to profitability are faltering.

- The FT says the London Metal Exchange was warned by the UK's financial regulator of shortcomings in its surveillance systems for analysing suspicious trades months before the departure of two top executives.

IRISH INDEPENDENT

- The Irish Independent leads with a report that a vulture fund called Tanager, which took over thousands of mortgages, is offering to sell homeowners their tracker home loans at a huge discount. The paper says the move is expected to be followed by other vulture funds.

- The paper warns that a possible Bus Éireann strike could spread, quoting Siptu's transport organiser Willie Noone as saying that other public transport workers were "aghast" at what was happening and had put pressure on the union to convene a meeting on the issue.

- In business, the Irish Independent says Cork city and county have provided the largest amount of residential zoned land sold by Nama so far, with more than 1,500 acres disposed of since the agency's formation. The information came in a written reply to Ruth Coppinger TD from Michael Noonan.

- The paper says Cairn Homes has been granted planning permission for a large project in west Dublin that will see the construction of 267 dwellings. The scheme is the first part of a larger plan by Cairn for the site in Adamstown.

IRISH EXAMINER

- The Irish Examiner also leads with the threat of industrial action by teachers and Bus Éireann workers, quoting Dermot O'Leary of the NBRU union as saying that while he could not prosecute industrial action in other CIE companies, he could not stop people expressing their anger.

- The paper says Apple has again rejected an invitation to attend an Oireachtas committee and answer questions over the alleged €13 billion in unpaid taxes owed to Ireland.

- The Examiner says Ireland has moved a step closer to having its airspace managed via digitally controlled, remotely located, control towers, rather than by individually manned air traffic control towers at each airport. This follows recent trials carried out by the Irish Aviation Authority.

- The paper also reports on the Exchequer figures, saying a big improvement in the amount of VAT the government collected last month has helped assuage some of the fears about the outlook for the economy.

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