Sunday May 31, 2020

What Thursday's papers say

Water row could spark election; health insurance tax break to go?; May's position softening

6th April, 2017
The main headlines from today's newspapers

IRISH TIMES

- The Irish Times leads with news that US President Donald Trump has given his strongest warning yet that he is prepared to take action in Syria as he said "many, many lines" had been crossed by this week's chemical attacks.

- The paper says Fine Gael may breach its confidence and supply arrangement with Fianna Fáil and risk a general election by refusing to implement the recommendations of the Oireachtas committee on water charges, after its demands for an excessive water usage charge and metering for all new builds were removed from the report.

- In business, the Irish Times says US equity trader Citadel Securities has opened an office in Dublin as part of a European expansion and plans to employ at least 50 staff by 2019. The paper says the Chicago-based company has been quietly operating in Dublin since the start of the year.

- The paper quotes quantity surveyor and construction consultant Linesight as saying that the construction industry could create up to 80,000 new jobs if it were to grow to full capacity. Its annual Ireland Handbook for 2017 shows that the building industry grew by 18 per cent last year.

FINANCIAL TIMES

- The Financial Times says British Prime Minister Theresa May has begun to dismantle roadblocks to a Brexit deal, including accepting a possible extension of free movement, as the European Parliament agreed to open the way to a potential "association agreement" between Britain and the EU.

- The FT says Donald Trump has removed top aide Steve Bannon from the White House National Security Council, reversing a controversial appointment that sparked criticism from foreign policy experts and Capitol Hill.

- The paper has seen "vocabulary guidelines" given to staff of online delivery company Deliveroo. The document says its couriers wear "branded clothing" rather than uniforms, receive "invoices" rather than payslips and face "termination" rather than the sack. The paper says the guidelines underscore the sensitivity of "gig economy" companies to language that implies they employ the people who work via their apps.

- The FT says figures showing that the Scottish economy - excluding oil and gas extraction - shrunk by 0.2 per cent in the final quarter of 2016 have raised more doubts about the economic case for independence.

IRISH INDEPENDENT

- The Irish Independent says the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare is set to argue that a tax relief on health insurance is effectively a subsidy for private insurance firms and should be scrapped. The paper says such a move would add €600 to the annual cost of bills for a typical family.

- The paper says an improved "bring them home" package, worth €3,000, is among the incentives to be launched in a bid to recruit Irish nurses from abroad. Nurses coming back to work in Ireland will receive €1,500 upfront and another €1,500 after 12 months.

- In business, Total Produce chief executive Rory Byrne has told the Irish Independent that the fruit and vegetable distributor could be worth around €1 billion in a takeover scenario, rather than its current stock market valuation of €623m, though he said there was no suitor circling at the moment as far as he was aware.

- The paper says the world's largest litigation finance provider Burford Capital is gearing up to establish an office in Dublin in anticipation of a major change to Irish law that would enable firms to provide third-party finance to clients to pursue legal cases. This is known as 'champerty'.

IRISH EXAMINER

- The Irish Examiner also leads with water, saying Housing Minister Simon Coveney is set to defy the water committee's recommendations to scrap charges and instead attempt to railroad through his own legislation, which he claims will comply with EU laws.

- The paper says the two sides in the Bus Eireann dispute may consider a "consolidated" system of pay which would see the likes of overtime and premium payments incorporated into core pay.

- In business, the Examiner says the Labour Court has recommended that an independent assessor examine the books of CityJet in a dispute between the airline and a number of its pilots. The court says the assessor should verify the airline's financial position and inform the trade union Unite.

- The paper says Kerry Group's annual report shows that executive pay levels at the company fell by just over 16 per cent last year, with departing chief executive Stan McCarthy's total package down by 13 per cent to €3.75m.

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