What Wednesday's papers say

An Post needs stamp increase; water 'grace' period plan?; new powers for Gsoc

8th March, 2017
The main headlines from today's newspapers

IRISH TIMES

- The Irish Times says An Post has told the Government it will face cash flow difficulties next month unless it can immediately increase the price of stamps. Chief executive David McRedmond told the paper a price increase was "an essential measure" for the company in order to stabilise its finances. The paper understands the price will increase to more than €1.

- The paper says it has learned that the Central Bank is looking into AIB, Bank of Ireland, Permanent TSB and KBC Bank Ireland as part of a probe into whether interest rates on credit card accounts were advertised incorrectly between 2010 and 2013.

- In business, the Irish Times says the Government plans to sell shares in AIB to small investors as part of an initial public offering of stock in the bank, which could happen as early as May or June. The paper believes a retail offering would require a minimum investment of €10,000.

- The paper reports that lottery regulator Liam Sloyan has faced criticism from TDs and senators, who say he has not done enough to protect the public from the problem of gambling addiction. They expressed concern about new online games introduced by National Lottery operator Premier Lotteries Ireland.

FINANCIAL TIMES

- The Financial Times says British Chancellor Philip Hammond will present a "bullish" outlook for British growth today in a Brexit budget aimed at bolstering economic defences ahead of prime minister Theresa May's triggering of Article 50.

- The FT says the CIA's cyber-espionage operations were laid bare yesterday after WikiLeaks published what it claimed was a large trove of documents detailing the US agency's techniques for hacking into smartphones, internet-connected televisions and other devices.

- In companies news, the paper says retailer Sports Direct faces a 40 per cent increase in the cost of supplying goods to hundreds of European stores after the expiry of a hedging contract that has shielded the company from the weakening euro.

- The FT says Swiss bank UBS is considering following the example set by Barclays, which in December became the first bank to say that it would not settle with the US Department of Justice over mortgage bond mis-selling allegations.

IRISH INDEPENDENT

- The Irish Independent leads with a report that water wasters will be given six months to produce evidence that they have taken steps to restrict their usage before facing fines. It quotes sources in Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael as saying they were leaning towards establishing a warning system in an effort to defuse a row over the issue.

- The paper says the Office of the Revenue Commissioners is spending €60,000 to translate its new website into Irish - despite just a few hundred people using the service in the country's first language.

- The Irish Independent says the Irish arm of Tesco has put the brakes on further expansion by German discount retailer Aldi - for now. Tesco appealed against a decision by Dublin City Council to give Dunmull Ltd the green light for a new Aldi store and a nursing home on the Malahide Road at Clarehall in north Dublin.

- The paper quotes the chief executive of building materials group Grafton, Gavin Stark, as saying that the company has ditched its outlets in Poland but remains interested in expanding its geographic footprint in Europe.

IRISH EXAMINER

- The Irish Examiner says the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission looks set to secure powers to compel the Garda Commissioner to hand over documentation in new laws being drafted by Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.

- The papers says four Irish universities - Trinity College Dublin, UCD, UCC and NUI Galway - are among the top 100 in the world for their nursing degrees in the QS World University Rankings.

- The Examiner says one of Cork's best-known businessmen has reached a settlement of almost €1m with Revenue. David O'Connor, whom the paper says is well-known for his sporting connections, settled for €983,149 for under-declaration of income tax and Vat.

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