By Stephen McKinley
With the euro predicted to stay weak, a leading economist reckons that Ireland’s exports will stay competitive for some months to come.
IIB Bank chief economist Austin Hughes told reporters that unless the European Central Bank makes a move that would change the euro’s current position in relation to other major currencies, though Hughes chastised the bank for its inaction.
“Unlike many others, I don’t think the ECB will cut rates next week despite the fact that eurozone inflation only dropped marginally in September to 2.5 perhaps,” Hughes said.
“The ECB is still locked into old-world issues and many may take the view that this is inappropriate, which may help to push down the euro somewhat,” he said.
But he pointed to the potential for continued competitive Irish exports, which, he said, could encourage foreign companies to continue their operations in Ireland for the time being, rather than turn tale as world economic conditions worsen.
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Tax collectors shine online
The Irish Revenue Commission has been collecting taxes through its website with some success, according to Accenture, a consultancy firm.
About _1.2 billion in taxes came in online last year, a massive increase from the predicted _50 million.
According to Accenture spokesperson Sean Shine, more than 4,000 companies in Ireland are filing taxes through the website.
Individual tax payers will be able to file their taxes online next year, according to the IRC.
New digs for Waterford
Tanaiste Mary Harney opened the new Waterford Technologies office in the Waterford Business Park last week.
One of the largest IT development companies in the Southeast, Waterford Technologies, employs 10 people.
“It is great to see indigenous IT companies succeeding outside Dublin,” Harney said. “With the availability of excellent IT courses in Waterford Institute of Technology and similar regional colleges, running a successful IT business is now possible from anywhere in Ireland.”
Said Brendan Nolan, CEO of Waterford Technologies, “We have found our business to have doubled in the past 12 months.
“Located in the Southeast, we find that multinational companies based in the region are delighted to find world-class technical expertise on their doorsteps, without having to travel to Dublin or London for support.”
Debts and drama
An examiner has been appointed to oversee and rescue Lucan-based Lark Developments, a construction company with debts of _17 million to unsecured creditors, accrued mainly from an as yet unfinished County Meath hotel development that has cost the company _14 million to date.
John McStay was appointed interim examiner by the High Court last week, and will attempt to make financial arrangements that will suit the creditors and allow Lark to stay alive.
London-based publishers Headline have announced that they will not publish Gerry Adams’s latest autobiographical installment, “Hope and History.”
Sinn Fein called the move “extraordinary and unprofessional.” Headline mentioned the Sept. 11 terror attacks in the U.S. but refused to comment any further other than to confirm that it would no longer be involved in the book, which will still be published in Ireland by Brandon and in the U.S. by Randomhouse. Adams was promoting the book at the Frankfurt book fair recently.
Steve McDonagh told the BBC that “the reasons they gave are bizarre. They cited Sept. 11 and cited worldwide reaction to Sept. 11.
“But my view is that in light of Sept. 11 this book is more relevant than ever because it is a story of a move from a period of conflict to a search for peace.”
Irish Sugar has been prosecuted for a series of pollution offenses by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The company was found guilty of eight charges, including polluting the River Barrow in County Carlow, illegally dumping batteries containing lead, trying to burn them and burying contaminated waste in land outside of a designated landfill site.
A fine of _21,776 fines and costs has been paid and Irish sugar issued a statement of “regret for any non-conformances with the terms of its Integrated Pollution Control license.”
Calling all Berliners
Berlin’s labor office has set aside _2,000 a head to encourage waiters, doctors, dentists, nurses, teachers, physiotherapists, skilled tradesmen and call center operatives to take up vacancies in Ireland, according to the Irish Examiner.
As many as 1,000 jobs could be filled by Berliners in Dublin and Dermot O’Brien of FAS, Ireland’s training and employment agency, said that it was an unusual reversal of fortune — a few years previous, FAS had staff in Germany seeking positions for Irish workers to move there.
Unemployment in Berlin is at 16 percent, compared with 9.4 percent in Germany as a whole and Ireland’s 3.7 percent.
A poster campaign in Berlin shows views of the Liffey as it runs through Dublin city center, and the words “Jobless in Berlin? How about a job in Ireland?” An official website then warns Berliners that working hours are longer in Ireland and pay lower.
FAS noted the shortage of midwives in Dublin as one sector where Berliners with the appropriate pediatric training could step in.