A view of cliffs on Inis Meáin, one of the Aran Islands. Photograph: Getty Images

State would only fund one teacher for nine student school with seven different classes

Letters which it is claimed were written by  convicted murderer Graham Dwyer to a woman he is understood to have befriended while in prison have been withdrawn from sale on eBay.

Letters appear to have breached ban on sale of items connected to violent crimes

Do falling oil prices mean cheaper petrol: Photograph: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

Conor Pope explains the impact of price cuts on cost of filling up your tank

Louis Copeland gets the measure of Conor Pope’s suits. Photographs: Dave Meehan

Our suit sceptic takes five from his wardrobe to Louis Copeland for expert appraisal. The verdict is always frank but not always p(...)

The survey found 37 per cent of respondents were less physically active than they were five years ago. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Research shows 82% of Irish people unaware of weekly exercise requirement for adults

Illustration: Frazer Hudson/Ikon via Getty Images

From dodgy emails and pop-ups to subtler forms of fraud and confidence trickery, here are some common pitfalls to avoid

The short answer is no but where’s the fun in that?

Aidan O’Brien is joined on the gallops by Conor Pope  for morning exercise. Photograph: Ni Riain Photography

Conor Pope gets a rare glimpse at the working life of Aidan O’Brien’s stud farms and training grounds to see what puts them am(...)

Gavin Duffy of ‘Dragons’ Den’ said he is  “always surprised by the level of understanding of business primary school children in particular can display”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

‘Dragons’ Den’ star among those backing Ibec proposal for business training at school

David Cameron eats his Pringles: we’re just reporting how silly the others are for reporting this

David Cameron eating Pringles, seagulls stealing our children and Kermit splitting from Miss Piggy. If you hadn’t already noticed,(...)

Normally an extensive monitoring system catches  toxins before contaminated shellfish enter the supply chain, but on this occasion the fresh mussels made it to multiple retailers. File photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Portions at many retailers found to contain excess diarrhetic shellfish poisoning toxins

Conor Pope and Jim Dockery doing a bovine blowdry. Photograph: Dylan Vaughan

Well, maybe in the country, after Conor Pope has washed, blow-dried, hairsprayed and baby-oiled them at Ossory Agricultural Show i(...)

Fuel prices are down, but gains are swallowed up by an average 20 per cent rise in insurance premiums for the typical motorist. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

AA says average yearly cost of keeping a family car on the road is €10,594, down just €18 on last year’s figure

At present there are less than 2,000 properties for rent in Dublin

In Dublin average price renters are paying is €1,368, in Cork €889 and in Galway €818

Czech Airlines’ decision to pull out of Cork route left reader out of pocket and uninsured

Plus: Energia customers billed on the double

All 1,372 customers of the bank and its subsidiary Springboard Mortgages are now in line for substantial refunds following the conclusion of a Central Bank investigation into the bank’s mismanagement of accounts. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

The bank was back in the High Court this week after a couple brought proceedings against Permanent TSB seeking to be immediately (...)

A little forward planning can ease the financial burden of sending your child back to school

Anne Marie Flood with her children, Jamie, Chloe, Sophie and youngest Abbie Flood, from Deansgrange, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Conor Pope crunches the numbers with a mother of four school-going children

Students living outside the home will spend an average of €1,033 a month compared with an average monthly spend of €474 for those living at home. Photograph: Thinkstock

Families save for average of eight years to put child through third level, new survey shows

WH Smith said boarding passes were requested from customers but not demanded

Industry sources warn prices may rise if boarding cards are not shown

The peer-to-peer holiday rental site contacted users over the weekend telling them it had supplied Revenue with details of income generated by users in the Republic going back to May 1st, 2014. Photograph: Bloomberg

Rental website to hold public meeting in Dublin to address user concerns

Thousands of Irish people who have rented out rooms in their homes or entire properties using the Airbnb service look set to be hit with a retrospective tax bill dating back to at least the middle of last year.  Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

Holiday rental site to hold meeting to discuss its decision to provide information to Revenue

Photograph: Thinkstock

Who should you call when things go wrong, and how likely is it that they will be able to intervene?

Supporters with Welsh flags cheer on a rider in Dún Laoghaire during the IronMan triathlon  in Dublin on Sunday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Athletes full of smiles at one of the toughest ever races in Dublin put rest of us to shame

Great British Bake Off  contestants (left to right) Alvin, Ugne, Paul, Dorret, Marie, Ian, Nadiya, Stu, Tamal, Flora, Mat and Sandy  for this year’s BBC1’s cookery contest, Photograph: Mark Bourdillon/PA Wire

Interest in TV show in Ireland - if chatter on social media is an indicator - is quite intense

A man shows his horse at the 2015 Dublin Horse Show at the RDS, Dublin. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

‘It is a great day out’ - even apparently for those who are not so horsey

Minister for Arts Heather Humphreys said there would be no better time to unveil a new cultural framework than in 2016, the centenary year of the Easter Rising. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

‘Everyone will have opportunity to make views known on why culture is so important’

Vodafone has been hauled over the coals by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission after it broke the law when selling services online. Photograph: Bloomberg

Those who signed up online over last year can now cancel contracts penalty free

Consumer is contributing to economic growth, and lifting consumer sentiment. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Spending hits levels not seen since height of boom

Signs that Tesco’s decline in sales are levelling off following a difficult two years

The cost of sending a child to secondary school has climbed by more than five times the rate of general inflation and is now just under €800, according to a survey to be published by Barnardos on Tuesday.  Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

Barnardos survey finds cost of uniforms and shoes down and books and contributions up

If you do need to go on day trips, hire a car for a couple of days in the middle of your holiday rather than for the duration. If you do need to go on day trips, hire a car for a couple of days in the middle of your holiday rather than for the duration

There are many pitfalls to be avoided from late booking to being stung by costly insurance cover, fuel policies and ‘damage’ char(...)

Permanent TSB mismanaged nearly 1,400 mortgage accounts. Photograph: Alan Betson

Consumer concerns this week include Permanent TSB’s ‘significant failures’, car-hire companies and mobile phone charges

Splashing about: wellies put to the test

Wellington boots

Ryan Tubridy was good for the 9-10am slot on RTÉ 1 and it was good for him. Photograph: Frank Miller

Morning radio is getting a shake-up, with Ryan Tubridy back at RTÉ Radio 1

 Permanent TSB’s Jeremy Masding (left), group chief executive, and Alan Cook, chairman, at the bank’s mortgage redress press conference this week. Photograph:  Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Far too often, bullied customers are let down or ignored by disparate bodies

The Galway Races are in full swing and Conor Pope has mixed feelings about it all

Caroline and Alicia O’Dwyer from Tipperary take a selfie at the Galway races.Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Politicians of every stripe thin on the ground these days since that infamous tent folded

Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath: said PTSB the bank had ‘essentially adopted a steamroller approach’. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Mortgage-holders’ association accuses bank of making ‘derisory’ offers to customers

Minister for the Environment  Alan Kelly speaking to the media with John Tierney and Elizabeth Arnett of Irish Water. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

From consultants and bonuses to protests and Eurostat, it’s been a torrent of crisis

All told, 1,372 mortgage account holders were impacted with 1,152 being customers of PTSB, with and the remaining 220 being Springboard account holders.

Over 1,300 people to get compensation due to bank’s mismanagement of home loans

‘Sleeping through the night’ means sleeping for six hours at a stretch. Photograph: Thinkstock

Sleepless nights could be just a bad dream, according to the author of a new book on sleeping babies

‘I don’t think I have ever been on the receiving end of such bad customer care’

Plus: Vodafone fails to live up to the sales patter for one customer

Photograph: Thinkstock

Network providers are luring customers with all-in deals – but they are often more expensive, unnecessary and come with important (...)

The money spent by Irish people overseas in 2014 using Visa’s credit, debit and pre-paid cards increased by 17 per cent to €1.26 billion last year, according to figures released by the company.

Consumers most likely to flash plastic in Britain, Spain, US, France and Italy

 Dónal Clancy, managing director of Laya Healthcare, blamed a rise in the number and cost of claims for price rises that will apply to more an half the firm’s customers from September.

Company blames rise on significant increase in volume and cost of claims

Designer Carlo Ratti’s concept shop at Milan Expo

A concept shop at Milan Expo explores how technology could transform the way we shop for food. Some of these changes might be upon(...)

Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport: reader suggests comparing local prices with duty-free prices before  buying. Photograph : Matt Kavanagh / The Irish Times

Plus: A reader is charged €11.43 for ATM withdrawal

As he prepared to board the world’s second-biggest cruise ship, Conor Pope worried cruising would be too old and too sedate. He wa(...)

The Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly, with John Tierney and Elizabeth Arnett of Irish Water. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

Are low water charge payments a sign of radical discontent?

There is no known cure for locked-in syndrome. There are some very limited treatments, including ones which use electrodes to stimulate muscle reflexes. These have been shown to activate some paralysed muscles, although the success rate is very low. File photograph: Getty Images

Patients are aware of what is happening but cannot move due to almost total paralysis

Irish Water managing director John Tierney. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

More than 3,000 did not have their water charges payments processed due to errors

The Central Bank ruled out upfront financial costs as an impediment to switching. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Central Bank report finds fewer than 50 people are switching every month

All told, Irish residents spent €1.037 billion on foreign trips between January and March - with the bulk of the spend going on holidays.  File photograph: Getty Images

CSO figures show 1.3m foreign trips recorded in first-quarter 2015, up 14.1% on last year

Scoil Naisiunta Inis Meáin has only one teacher. Photograph: Jordan Currie

Island people book room in Buswells Hotel to lobby politicians and showcase commitment

Alex White: would not be drawn on how much the Government expects to spend on the whole process. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Alex White aims for mid-2016 schedule to sign contracts with bidders

Of all the rule breakers we witnessed, the cyclists are the ones least likely to actually harm their fellow road users

Video: Conor Pope takes to the streets to see how well cyclists obey the lights and law

Irish Water managing director John Tierney: all the parties in the Labour Relatiions Commission talks will reconvene in the coming days. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Unions say performance-related awards were key element of contract with utility

If you want to send us a postcard from your holidays our Eircode is D02CX89.

It’s not compulsory or before time or likely to please all but Ireland now has postcodes

‘There were valuables in the bag and also items of great sentimental value.’ Photograph: John Li/Getty Images

Plus: A reader is pursued by creditors despite debt-relief notice

‘Politicians need to stop reminding us how important education is and start investing in it,’ says June Tinsley of Barnardos. Photograph: Thinkstock

Parents pay an average of €816 per primary school child each year, and €1,313 per secondary school child

Holiday snap: taking a selfie at the Parthenon in Athens; most protests have been in the capital, away from many tourist destinations. Photograph: Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters

Greece is running out of money and its banks are still closed. Good place for your two-week break?

A shopper looks through clothes at the liquidation sale in a premises on Parnell Street, Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Windows of pop-up shop on Parnell Street are covered in giant yellow posters advertising ‘Clerys liquidation store’

Getting an ice-cream these days is not as straightforward as it used to be

Fans of the breakfast roll:  builders taking a morning break outside Trinity College on Pearse Street, Dublin in August 2009. Photograph: Eric Luke

Live Well initiative aims to ‘redefine everyday convenience retailing’

House prices in the Republic increased by more than six times the EU average in the first three months of this year, according to new figures. Photo: PA Wire

Average home price 16.8% higher in first quarter of 2015 than in same period in 2014

When contacted, the company said it was experiencing “an intermittent issue which has caused delays for some customers accessing the service”.

Bank claims internet banking service working for ‘majority’ of customers

All told, 81 per cent of parents of schoolgoing children said sending their children back to school in September would be a significant financial burden, with 32 per cent saying they would be likely to get into debt to cover the cost. File photograph: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Uniforms, books, lunches, school trips, ‘voluntary’ contributions - it all mounts up

Blackhead Lighthouse and its ruggedly beautiful surrounding area on Islandmagee peninsula. Photograph: Tourism Northern Ireland

A summer series in which Irish Times writers go off the beaten track. Part 1: Blackhead Lighthouse is a perfect retreat in an almo(...)

The Merrion Hotel Dublin: cheapest room for next Sunday is €295, falling to €250 on Monday, according to tripadvisor.ie. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Index shows Dublin hotel prices have soared by 26% compared to this time last year

The minimum hourly living wage a person needs has been put at €11.50 an hour by the Living Wage Technical Group, an increase of 5 cents on the 2014 rate. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Rising rents, in particular in Dublin, are main driver of increase over 2014 rate

‘EBS said we have other options. What do they want us to do, rob a bank?’ Photograph: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg

Plus: The bank that likes to send scary letters for no reason

‘There would almost certainly be numerous specific impacts on consumers.’ Photograph: Thinkstock

We take its directives for granted, but EU rulings will no longer apply to Britain if it leaves the union, meaning Irish people co(...)

Photograph: Thinkstock

How do you avoid baggage charges, eat and drink for less, and make free phone calls while on holidays? This 20-point plan has the (...)

‘I feel eMobile has a duty of care to inform its customers when such large amounts are involved,’ says our reader. Photograph: Thinkstock

Plus: the amazing shrinking Dundrum Town Centre gift card

Tish Ryan scores a try for for The Swingers. Photograph: Kieran Ryan

With simple rules, a strong social element and a level playing field for the sexes, the game has taken off

The Lonely Beast ABC, a charming app based on Chris Judge’s book, which won the Irish Children’s Book of The Year award in 2011

ABCs, 123s, stickers, Minions, foreign languages, geography, even coding: this selection of first-rate children’s apps will keep l(...)

Taking a case: hiring a solicitor is not always a straightforward process. Photograph: Thinkstock

Should you hire a trusted friend? Would the person who helped sell your house do a good job in an unfair dismissal case? Does expe(...)

In some cases restaurants trading under aliases offer completely different menus

Full audit under way and and all accounts in breach of the rules suspended, says service

‘We have been advised to restrict sale of low-value stamps and so we insist that customers buy them at the time of posting,’ says An Post. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Plus: the staggering difference between mortgage rates in Spain and Ireland

Spotify offers a free music service for those who don’t mind putting up with ads

Is it time to wake up and smell the freebies? For although the world is still full of rip-offs and unfair charges, we live in an e(...)

Andy McFadden, head chef at L’Autre Pied in London: ‘In the 2015 guide there were 62 Michelin stars in London, so I am nobody really’

Interview: Four years ago McFadden, from Tallaght, was made London’s youngest Michelin-starred chef – not bad for someone who was (...)

The cost of replacing water pipes could be as little as €600 or as much as €4,000 depending on how difficult the job is.

Irish Water has started writing to 28,000 homes as part of national campaign

German discounter Aldi claimed that the on-shelf banners created the impression that Dunnes’ products generally, or its “Family Essentials” range, were cheaper than Aldi products when there was “no basis” for such a claim, Aldi claimed.

Court rules in favour of Aldi over pricing labels on sausages, yoghurts, tomato ketchup

British retailing giant Tesco now commands 25 .2 per cent of the Irish supermarkets compared spend compared to the 24.8 per cent share enjoyed by Supervalu.

Supervalu comes in second with Dunnes Stores third

Many petrol stations now charge for air. Photograph: Thinkstock

Over the past 10 years, private enterprises and government bodies have been steadily rolling out charges. It’s got to the point wh(...)

The Lenovo S8-50

Plus: the mystery of the shrinking Gateaux cake

Earlier this week the Commission for Energy Regulation gave the green light to Panda Power to become the fifth supplier of domestic electricity in the Republic. Photograph: Getty Images

This new green entrant to the Irish electricity market is eyeing up a slice of the energy cake

Does everyone have more money in their pockets and are the bad times over then? The short answer is, no

New money-saving series by The Irish Times is offering to help readers get their personal finances in order

Past masters: Chefs Derry Clarke, Catherine Fulvio and Paul Flynn in Lords & Ladles

Lords & Ladles is a new cookery show where Irish chefs recreate what it was like to prepare food in a 17th century big house

Consumers remains concerned about a lack of improvement in household spending power, new data indicated today.   Photograph: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg

Data indicates healthy upturn in the economy, but highlights disconnect with consumers

Panda plans to invest €40m in “phase one” of its energy rollout, and has promised to supply green electricity produced from renewable energy sources. Photograph: Getty Images

Panda Power becomes fifth operator in domestic market with 18% unit price reduction

‘When I asked to see a manager, the answer I received was “No! You cannot speak to my manager. I cannot contact him” ’. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg

A reader wrote to us because he is ‘desperate and can’t find anybody here in Ireland who wants to or can resolve this issue’

Dublin Port tug boats Beaufort and Shackleton impress the crowds at the Dublin Port River Fest. Photograph: Conor Pope

Tug boats dance to Wagner but sun fails to make an appearance at first day of festival

The value of mortgage approvals increased by 43.6 per cent year-on-year and by 2.6 per cent in a single month Image: Getty

Data released as Bank of Ireland applies limited fixed-rate cuts

Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan: ‘If people were more active in the switching market, it might keep banks on their toes and we would encourage that.’ Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Borrower inertia lessens impetus for Central Bank to intervene on rates, says governor

Director of the Insolvency Service of Ireland Lorcan O’Connor said that there were still 37,000 mortgages in arrears of longer than 720 days. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

ISI director believes vast majority struggling with debts are victims of circumstance

Minister for Enterprise Richard Bruton: the Republic’s consumer law as it stood had ‘too many rules in some areas and too few or none at all in other areas’. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Unfair contracts to be outlawed as part of sweeping reform of consumer law

While it is early days and the consumer rights Bill unveiled by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton  has a long road to travel before it becomes law, it is a promising move in the right direction. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

There are virtually no laws governing the gift voucher system at the moment

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