What Thursday's papers say

Kenny faces down FG critics; Unilever planning shake-up?; EU urges Vat review

23rd February, 2017
The main headlines from today's newspapers

IRISH TIMES

- The Irish Times says the contest to succeed Enda Kenny as Taoiseach and leader of Fine Gael is effectively underway after he told his parliamentary party last night that he would deal "conclusively" with the leadership issue when he returns from the US after St Patrick's Day. The paper says his remarks were accepted by Fine Gael TDs.

- The paper says the chief executive of campaigning group Manufacturing Northern Ireland, Stephen Kelly, has told a House of Commons committee that 100,000 firms in the UK have registered companies in Ireland since last year's vote to leave the EU.

- The Irish Times reports on international data which show that the proposed €1 billion national children's hospital in Dublin will be the most expensive children's hospital to be built anywhere in the world. The paper says that in 2012, the hospital was expected to cost €404m.

- In business, the paper reports that the European Commission has criticised the Government's interventions in the housing market, warning that they could push up house prices and limit supply. In particular, it said, the help-to-buy scheme introduced in the Budget was likely to increase demand.

FINANCIAL TIMES

- The Financial Times leads with news that consumer products giant Unilever has promised a top-to-bottom review of its business, including potentially shedding assets, to boost profits, in a rapid response to a rebuffed $143 billion takeover approach from Kraft Heinz.

- The FT says yields on short-term German bonds hit record lows yesterday as investors moved to protect themselves against the possibility of victory for the far-right in France's presidential election.

- In companies news, the paper says Paris is to build seven skyscrapers in its business district in western Paris as part of an aggressive campaign to lure financial services companies from London after Britain leaves the EU.

- The FT says Lloyds Banking Group has unveiled a £2.2 billion dividend after more than doubling its annual pre-tax profits on the back of lower provisions for mis-selling payment protection insurance.

IRISH INDEPENDENT

- The Irish Independent says Enda Kenny has faced down his party critics to win a reprieve that will allow him to cling to power until Easter. It says the Taoiseach turned his fire on TDs and senators who have threatened his authority in recent days, but promised to address the leadership issue "effectively and conclusively" after his visit to the US.

- The paper says a state scheme that offers owners of vacant properties up-front payments to bring them back into use is to be rolled out nationwide after a pilot scheme in Carlow and Waterford. Housing Minister Simon Coveney says the scheme will bring 800 properties back.

- In business, the Irish Independent reports that almost 15,000 Glanbia Co-op farmers will split a €105m windfall under a plan hatched to create a new €1.5 billion business that will include Glanbia plc's consumer brands such as Avonmore and Kilmeaden.

- The paper reports on comments from France's foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who told the Institute of International and European Affairs that Irish companies have invested more in France than Chinese firms, with almost 300 Irish companies employing more than 200,000 people.

IRISH EXAMINER

- The Irish Examiner says Enda Kenny has killed off internal Fine Gael attempts to topple him after silencing rebels with a promise to "conclusively" address the issue of his leadership next month.

- In business, the Examiner says the European Commission has called on the Government to install "systematic" reviews of all its reduced rates for Vat, such as the low rate of tax on hotels and restaurants.

- The paper quotes the Central Bank's deputy head Sharon Donnery as telling a conference in Dublin that any influx of financial services firms to Dublin, arising out of Brexit, could pose "a broad range" of risks to the Irish economy. She also poured cold water on any idea of Dublin or any other EU city becoming "a new London".

- The Examiner says Ashford Studios, the County Wicklow studios where the hit series Vikings is shot, has made a fresh bid for a €90m expansion that would create 1,500 jobs, lodging plans with Wicklow County Council.

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