What Thursday's papers say
Trump press conference; water meter incentive proposal; Pfizer workers back action
- The Irish Times leads with what it describes as Donald Trump's "combative and chaotic" first press conference as US president-elect, saying he admitted Russia may have been behind election computer hacking and trashing the media and "sick" opponents for spreading "fake news" about his personal life.
- The paper quotes senior figures in the Irish and British administrations as saying that both governments believe there is little realistic chance of avoiding elections in Northern Ireland. This comes ahead of last-ditch meetings involving political parties in Belfast today.
- In business, the Irish Times also leads with the Trump press conference, saying he has thrown down a major challenge to Ireland by targeting the return of pharma and medtech companies to the US. Many US pharma companies have moved business elsewhere in an effort to cut their tax bills.
- The paper says staff at Ulster Bank in the Republic are in line for an average 2 per cent pay increase from April following a recommendation from independent mediator Kieran Mulvey.
- The Financial Times also leads with Trump, saying an unrepentant US president-elect lashed out at US spy agencies, accusing them of allowing the leak of claims that Russia sought to compromise him and likening the behaviour to "something that Nazi Germany would have done".
- The FT says the British government has been forced to play down revelations it is considering asking employers to pay a £1,000-a-year tax on skilled EU workers brought into Britain after Brexit, after the idea sparked fury from employers.
- In companies news, the paper leads with news that Volkswagen will plead guilty to three felonies and pay $4.5 billion in penalties to settle a US Department of Justice investigation into the diesel emissions scandal that has engulfed the car maker for the past 15 months.
- The FT says shares in estate agency group Foxtons fell to the lowest level since their 2013 stock market debut after it said annual profit would almost halve as a result of a slowdown in the London property market.
- The Irish Independent says the water regulator is proposing that people should be allowed to 'opt-in' to a water meter on their property, and enjoy a tax rebate or other financial incentive if they reduce consumption. But the Commission for Energy Regulation will also tell a Dáil committee on water that the metering programme should be stopped.
- The paper carries a piece from Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness, who earlier this week resigned as Northern Ireland's deputy first minister, in which he says "we must now move to an election". But he adds that there can be no return to what he calls "the failed status quo" in the aftermath of a vote.
- In business, the Irish Independent says US insurance giant AIG has asked the government how it would view an application to move the company's European headquarters from London to Dublin, as the company eyes a post-Brexit shift.
- The paper reports that state forestry agency Coillte has agreed a €220m syndicated loan facility with five banks that it expects will save it around €35m over ten years.
- The Irish Examiner says more than 200 Pfizer workers in Cork have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action in a dispute over employee pensions.
- The paper reports that thousands of Cork County Council tenants face a rent rise of 3 per cent from February 11, the first increase imposed by the local authority since 2013.
- The Examiner says Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor has lost a second special adviser in eight months, with policy adviser Jim McGrath resigning after taking up his position last June. The paper says ministers and TDs expressed surprise at his resignation.
- The paper reports on new accounts which show that the group that operates the Inec (Ireland's National Event Centre) and the Gleneagle Hotel in Killarney booked an operating profit of €1.05m in 2015, though an exceptional cost relating to the write-off of debt led to a pre-tax loss of €267,425.