Saturday August 8, 2020

What it says in the papers

Water dominates FG meeting; Saudi u-turn on oil; Ulster Bank may face RBS pressure

1st December, 2016
The main headlines from today's newspapers

IRISH TIMES

- The Irish Times reports that a number of Fine Gael TDs have urged the Government to refund water charges to people who paid them. The paper says the report of the expert commission on water services published earlier this week dominated last night's weekly meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party.

- The paper says the Government has announced that it will not oppose Opposition proposals in the Dáil to make cannabis available for medicinal purposes. Health Minister Simon Harris confirmed he would facilitate a Bill put forward by People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny.

- In business, the Irish Times says Michael Fingleton, who led the failed Irish Nationwide Building Society for 38 years, has demanded that a Central Bank inquiry into his stewardship of the society be postponed until well into next year while he mounts a legal challenge.

- The paper reports on comments from Donald Trump's new Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who has said cutting US corporation tax to 15 per cent would be a key priority.

FINANCIAL TIMES

- The Financial Times leads with OPEC's deal yesterday to cut oil supplies by 1.2 million barrels a day, describing the agreement as a big reversal for Saudi Arabia, which two years ago tried to undermine US shale and other producers by raising its output.

- The FT says Royal Bank of Scotland's failure to pass a Bank of England stress test yesterday is a blow to the British government, which wants to start selling its 72 per cent stake in the bank.

- In companies news, the paper says Canadian drug maker Valeant abandoned attempts to sell its gastrointestinal business to Japan's Takeda for $10 billion after negotiations broke down, dashing one of Valeant's best hopes of reducing its crippling debt burden.

IRISH INDEPENDENT

- The Irish Independent also leads with water, with minister Simon Coveney telling the paper that refunding householders who paid their charges would set a "dangerous precedent". The paper quotes Fine Gael TDs as expressing fears that they will never be forgiven if refunds are not issued.

- The paper also quotes European Investment Bank vice-president Andrew McDowell, a former economic adviser to Enda Kenny, as saying that the bank is ready to fund water upgrades in Ireland - once the Government decides what to do about charges.

- In business, the Irish Independent quotes analysts as saying that Ulster Bank will not end up on the auction block after its parent RBS failed a stress test yesterday. Analysts believe, however, that the Irish business will come under pressure to deliver more capital back to Britain more quickly.

- The paper reports on newly-filed accounts for two more Irish firms owned by US investment firm Cerberus, which show that the companies had "minuscule" tax liabilities despite making a combined €30m in profits.

IRISH EXAMINER

- The Irish Examiner also leads with water, saying that Housing Minister Simon Coveney faces a revolt after at least a dozen fellow Fine Gael ministers, TDs and senators insisted that people who paid charges must be refunded. The paper says one junior minister told Coveney she wanted a refund now.

- The paper reports on figures from Google's Consumer Barometer which show that 78 per cent of Irish people now use a smartphone, a figure which is 13 points above the EU average.

- The Examiner reports on accounts from business lobby group Ibec, which show that it posted a pre-tax loss of just over €527,000 last year, despite an increase in revenues to just under €18.3m.

- The paper reports that pre-tax profits at the Conrad Hotel, off St Stephen's Green in Dublin, more than doubled last year to €2.28m as it benefited from a boom in tourism.

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