Category: Archive

Business Briefs Building binge squeezing poor

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Harry Keaney

Ireland is on a house-building binge. As for house prices, the only direction seems to be up, up . . .

According to the department of the Environment and Local Government, as many as 42,349 homes were completed during 1998, an increase of nine percent on 1997.

Total loans approved by various lending agencies amounted to £4.5 billion.

Just more than 34 percent of the new homes completed were semi-detached. Twenty-three were detached, 22 percent were flats and apartments, 17.5 percent were bungalows and 3.5 percent were terraced homes.

Robert Molloy, the minister of state for housing and urban renewal, said houses are being built at twice the level of 1993 and at a rate which, in relation to the population, is the highest in Europe.

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According to figures in the Annual Housing Statistics Bulletin for 1998, house prices rose by 22.7 percent last year and there was a 10.2 percent increase in the number of private houses built. The figures also suggest that lower-income groups, particularly manual workers, are being squeezed out of the market.

Dublin remained the most expensive place to buy residential property, with the average price of a new apartment reaching £131,344. The average price of a new house in Dublin last year was £124,243.

The majority of borrowers, 52.9 percent, were from professional and managerial occupations. Manual workers accounted for only 23.3 percent of borrowers. The biggest drop in borrowers were unskilled manual workers, which accounted for only 3.4 percent in 1998.

Meanwhile, house prices are set to rise even further, according to the property group Sherry FitzGerald. The group had predicted that prices would increase by 15 percent; it has now upped that estimate to 20 percent.

IBO networking

An Irish Business Organization networking dinner will take place April 20 at 7 p.m. in Moran’s, 103 Washington St., lower Manhattan. Details, Bernadette McManus at (212) 571-1150.

Irish flotations

Nine Irish companies are expected to go public between now and the end of the year, the chief executive of the Irish stock exchange, Tom Healy, has told the Sunday Tribune newspaper in Dublin. Among the flotations will be the Irish telecommunications company Telecom Éireann, possibly Aer Rianta, and a number of technology companies.

Last week, the property group Sherry FitzGerald began trading on the Irish and London stock exchanges. The group had turnover of £9 million last year with a pre-tax profit of £1.7 million. The chairman and chief executive of Sherry FitzGerald is Mark FitzGerald, son of former taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Garret FitzGerald.

Healy also revealed that the Irish stock exchange will move to a new screen-based electronic trading system before the end of this year. It is thought that the Irish authorities have agreed to buy a version of the system that is currently used by the French bourse.

Jersey City visit

A delegation from Northern Ireland’s North Down borough met last month with Jersey City officials and the Jersey City Economic Development Corporation to discuss possible ways to work together to facilitate economic development in both areas. The day’s events included a tour of Jersey City, a presentation at city hall and a luncheon.

Mayor Bret Schundler welcomed the delegation with an official presentation in city hall’s council chambers. The delegation was headed by Councilor T. Marsden FitzSimons, mayor of North Down; his chief executive, Adrian McDowell; Alderman Leslie Cree; and Councilor Alan Chambers.

In addition to fostering good will, the purpose of the visit was to discuss ways in which North Down could team with Jersey City to enhance opportunities in the areas of commerce, economic development, tourism, and academic and cultural exchanges. Jersey City has a significant Irish population.


Chase Manhattan has announced a $1.15 million grant to the Local Initiatives Support Corporation to fund several programs at the national and local levels aimed at revitalizing inner-city communities. On the local level, Chase funds will provide early venture capital and technical assistance for the development of commercial projects. Chase can be reached on the Web at www.chase.com.

Claims culture

Ireland’s compo culture is thriving.

Compensation claims cost private and public enterprise at least £700 million last year, the employers’ group IBEC estimates. Indeed, the IBEC’s policy director Brendan Butler said that figure was conservative, adding there is evidence to suggest payouts could total as much as £1.2 billion.

Butler said an increasing number of claims were being taken against businesses even though companies were spending more on health and safety.

"The situation flies in the face of reality," Butler said. "An awful lot of claims are exaggerated," he added, pointing out that, in many of these claims, people who slip or trip rarely break any bones but almost all of them get back injuries. Similarly, he said, while most car accidents do not result in serious injuries, those involved "develop whiplash."

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