What Monday's papers say

FG contenders calm on Kenny comments: HSE struggles hit cancer surgery; water could be the new oil

20th March, 2017
The main headlines from today's newspapers


- The Irish Times leads with news that the two leading candidates to replace Enda Kenny as Fine Gael leader - Leo Vardakar and Simon Coveney - have dismissed concerns that the Taoiseach will continuously delay his departure date. Kenny caused some controversy on Friday when he suggested that he would not step down until an executive was formed in Northern Ireland and the separate Brexit negotiations begin.

- The paper says hundreds of families living in flood-prone areas could be given up to €200,000 to relocate under plans to be considered by the Government this week. The proposals from Minister of State at the Office of Public Works Seán Canney will apply to flooded households that cannot access insurance and whose residential property is not sustainable.

- In business, the Irish Times quotes a report from debt research firm CreditSights as saying that Bank of Ireland and AIB will have to sell €15 billion of bonds that can be "bailed in" under new EU rules aimed at minimising taxpayer losses in the event of another crisis.

- The paper says Dublin ranks 19th in a new index of "smart cities" by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which also forecasts that the market for "smart" technology and infrastructure used in urban areas could expand to $1.6 trillion by 2020.


- The Financial Times says Britain and Germany are set to sign a new defence pact after Britain launches Brexit, as prime minister Theresa May attempts to reinforce claims that she is not turning her back on Europe. The Ministry of Defence said it was working with Germany "on a joint vision statement on future co-operation".

- The chairman of Barclays and TheCityUK lobbying group, John McFarlane, has told the FT London finance chiefs are preparing a fresh round of lobbying for lower taxes and looser regulation to sugar the pill of Brexit and maintain Britain's appeal in the global competition between financial centres.

- In companies news, the paper quotes the chief executive if French utility Suez, Jean-Louis Chaussade, as saying that water will become more valuable than oil as rising demand from people, industries and agriculture puts pressure on supplies.

- The FT says the chief executive of Vivendi has accused Italian group Mediaset of providing "misleading" information during negotiations over a tie-up last year, upping the stakes in an acrimonious stand-off between former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi and French billionaire and Vivendi chair Vincent Bolloré. Berlusconi founded Mediaset and owns 40 per cent of the company.


- The Irish Independent says cancer patients are having surgery cancelled "in significant numbers", according to Irish Hospital Consultants Association president Dr Tom Ryan, as hospitals struggle with overcrowding and a lack of beds and doctors.

- The paper says Local Government Minister Simon Coveney is preparing a major revamp of the country's archaic commercial rates system, after which towns and cities could have bespoke taxes tailored to certain businesses in a bid to revitalise main streets and prevent one type of shop from taking over.

- The Irish Independent says Taoiseach Enda Kenny has stolen a march on would-be rebels. It says they are now perplexed by his insistence that he is no rush to stand down and are unsure of their next move.

- In business, the Irish Independent says it has learned that the HSE has selected a proposal from Spanish construction company OHL and Irish builder JJ Rhatigan as a preferred bidder for the €125m contract to build the new National Forensics Hospital in Portrane, north Dublin. The paper says OHL was one of a number of construction companies named in an investigation into alleged wrongdoing by Spanish politicians in the award of large infrastructure projects, though it has denied the allegations.


- The Irish Examiner leads with internal HSE documents which show that there were almost 500 notifiable incidents in HSE hospitals last year, which included deaths, sexual assaults and medical errors.

- The paper quotes Simon Coveney as saying that "nothing has changed" on the future of Fine Gael and a new leader is likely to be in place in the coming weeks. He told the paper too much had been made of Enda Kenny's remarks in the US, which appeared to extend the deadline for his departure.

- The paper says tenders are being sought for contractors to decontaminate a former steel plant on Haulbowline Island in Cork Harbour where the cost of the clean-up is expected to top €10m.

- In business, the Examiner says a leading economist will warn this week that the return of a hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland is "inevitable" and will disrupt trade and harm the economy. Philippe Legrain, a senior research fellow at the London School of Economics, will be giving a lecture hosted by UCC on Wednesday,

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