What Thursday's papers say

FG TDs 'underwhelmed' by reshuffle; caution on roaming charges; London tower warnings 'ignored'

15th June, 2017
The main headlines from today's newspapers


- The Irish Times leads with the election of Leo Varadkar as Taoiseach and his announcement of a Cabinet reshuffle, quoting sources close to Varadkar as saying that former Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor "made her dissatisfaction known" after losing her post, rejecting an offer of a junior ministry at the Department of Justice.

- The paper says questions have been asked about safety standards at Grenfell Tower, a 24-storey flat block in west London, following a fire in which at least 12 people died. The paper says repeated warnings from residents were ignored, and that exterior cladding is now the prime suspect for the acceleration of the fire.

- In business, the Irish Times says Central Bank deputy governor Sharon Donnery has rejected recent suggestions Ireland is facing another housing bubble, saying lending for home purchases remains "subdued" a decade after the last crash.

- The paper says Construction Industry Federation chiefs have highlighted water treatment as an issue which is delaying the construction of much-needed new homes, with the body saying its members were reporting that Irish Water could not connect proposed new housing developments.


- The Financial Times leads with the US Federal Reserve's decision to lift short-term US interest rates by a quarter point as the central bank also set out detailed plans for paring back the size of its balance sheet later this year, though chair Janet Yellen said the Fed was watching low inflation figures "closely".

- The FT says Britain's company directors are twice as likely as other members of the public to be the victims of identity theft, with criminals using data in Companies House to target their victims, according to new research by Cifas, which operates Britain's National Fraud Database and LexisNexis Risk Solutions.

- The paper says Google's parent company Alphabet has made its biggest push into drug development by investing in a new fund that will buy stakes in European biotech groups.

- The FT says Thames Water is being investigated by regulator Ofwat for its "unacceptable failure" to control water leakages, with 180 litres a day leaking from every property the company supplies. The probe cane as the British water giant disclosed that it had paid investors £100m in dividends in the year to March.


- The Irish Independent, reporting on Leo Varadkar's Cabinet choices, highlights his comment that Ireland would be "at the heart of Europe", adding that leadership rival Simon Coveney has been made the effective 'Brexit Minister' while Frances Fitzgerald - moved to the Department of Enterprise - is to ensure Ireland is "business-ready for Brexit".

- The paper says rip-off mobile roaming charges for calls and texts have officially been banned across the EU from today as a new international law comes into effect, but it warns that the new law will not cover domestic data allowances for large numbers of Irish phone users and that mobile customers with unlimited plans will still be subject to data caps while roaming.

- The Irish Independent quotes the Central Bank as saying that property-related loans accounted for 30 per cent of total new lending to non-financial sector SMEs last year.

- The paper quotes documents filed with the Companies Office as showing that pre-tax profits at the group owned by Limerick timber tycoons the McMahon family increased by 42 per cent to €4m last year.


- The Irish Examiner says Fine Gael TDs have branded Leo Varadkar's Cabinet reshuffle "underwhelming", quoting one prominent supporter of the new Taoiseach as describing the decision to keep Frances Fitzgerald as Tánaiste as "shocking".

- The paper reports on figures from the Residential Tenancies Board which show rents rising at an annual rate of over 7 per cent in the first quarter of 2017. But the board says it is too early to say if a slowdown in the rate of increase is linked to the introduction of rent hike caps in some areas.

- The Examiner says the Law Society has called for the probate and inheritance tax process to be made easier for grieving families, submitting 22 detailed recommendations for changes in the taxation and probate systems.

- The paper also quotes the Central Bank as saying that house prices, which are expected to rise by another 10 per cent this year, are "not currently overvalued".

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