The Weekend Read: Although our economy grows stronger, disposable incomes in Ireland remain stubbornly low. This new series advise(...)

There are 1,620 sets of traffic lights in the Dublin region across all four local authorities, and the red light running campaign launch has said  road users put themselves at great risk by driving, cycling or crossing through red lights every day.

Pre-Christmas campaign aims to reduce number and severity of city traffic incidents

An Post handles 2.5 million pieces of correspondence every day. All told, 90 per cent of it is either business-to-business or business-to-consumer. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

National postal services handles 2.5 million pieces of correspondence every day

The variable rate cut takes the bank’s standard rate to 4.25 per cent

Variable rate mortgages of Irish banks have come under increasing scrutiny recently

The NSAI stressed that a wrongly-calibrated meter does not necessarily mean people were deliberately trying to overcharge customers. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

NSAI inspects 128 complaints by consumers over inaccurate weights, measurements

The rise is part of a major overhaul of its dealings with distressed borrowers. Photograph: Getty Images

People with unsecured borrowings of up to €35,000 will be able to get write-offs

The survey, in conjunction with Davy, says the average price for  properties is €205,000 and €286,000 in Dublin

Price of Dublin new listings drops by 0.1% in third quarter, the first decline in three years

Health insurer says first price rise in 20 months is needed to cover cost of claims

A Team Hope shoebox. Photograph: Team Hope

Arsen Khachatryan arrives in Ireland to meet Claire Fahy, who sent him gift as a child

Portions of the Martian surface shot by Nasa’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show many channels  on a scarp in the Hellas impact basin, in this photograph taken January 14th, 2011 and released by Nasa on  March 9th, 2011. Scientists have found the first evidence that briny water may flow on the surface of Mars during the planet’s summer months, a paper published on Monday showed. File photograph: Nasa/JPL-Caltech/ University  of Arizona/Reuters

New discovery takes scientists tantalisingly close to uncovering actual life on Red Planet

The latest Kantar Worldpanel figures show Tesco – which remains Ireland’s biggest supermarket – returning to growth for the first time since March 2013. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Lidl and Dunnes enjoy strong sales figures

A giant screen at the 2015 Internet of Things Solutions World Congress in Barcelona in September. Photograph: Josep Lago/AFP Photo

Smart pills, driverless cars and fridges that know what you need to stock up on: everything is about to become connected in what s(...)

Gardaí have received reports of vishing scams  where the targets have lost more than €38,000. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg.

Gardaí warn ‘vishing’ scams are on the rise with reports of victims losing thousands

Newstalk denied an  advertising campaign had encouraged the use of bad language but had been “a play on words to get across the message that they were determined to get to the bottom of important news stories and be truthful to their listeners”. File photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Some people complained to ASAI that language used was ‘coarse, vulgar and offensive’

Irish teenagers appear more likely to be the victims of cyberbullying that teens in other countries a new survey has revealed. Photograph: Thinkstock

Two thirds of young people said online victimisation was worse than face-to-face

Twitter users expressed general disquiet at the manner in which Irish Water was set up and criticised  how it was being run

People take to social media to express their main concerns about controversial utility

The new Code of Standards for Advertising and Marketing in Ireland features a new section on gambling

When complaints about advertisements are made and upheld, a rap on the knuckles is unlikely to cause a company much concern

U2 on stage. File photograph: Ian West/PA Wire

Bank of Ireland customers who bought ‘paperless’ tickets need old cards for gig

The 10th International Plain Conference heard  communication in the health sector was frequently a matter of life and death - and fear of litigation rather an attempt to communicate effectively was behind much of the language in correspondence and on packaging. File photograph: Getty Images

Conference on clearer language hears communication often a matter of life and death

Conor Pope: ‘Today, Michael O’Leary, I’ll be wearing a suitcase coat.’

Good news: one doesn’t need to carry 40 coats – you need 40 pockets in one coat

The Greenhouse in Dublin has been awarded a Michelin Star, according to the official Twitter account of the celebrated dining guide. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times.

Thornton’s loses out as Belfast eateries Eipic and Ox also recognised

Householders who have registered with Irish Water and applied for the Water Conservation Grant through the Department of Social Protection will start receiving the €100 payment this week. Photograph: The Irish Times

People do not have to prove they have paid their water bills in order to receive grant

Directors confer after the main part of the Eircom annual general meeting in the RDS in Dublin. Photograph: Frank Miller

The telecoms company is about to announce a shiny new name, but will it press our buttons?

Motorists are set to pay around €300 per year more for a comprehensive policy in 2016 than they did in 2014. Photograph: Getty Images.

Most drivers will be paying about €300 more for a policy next year than in 2014

 Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern leaving the Oireachtas banking inquiry on July 16th, 2015. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Just over 7,000 people watch ex-taoiseach issue something of an apology for role in collapse

U2 will finish their current world tour in Ireland. Photograph: EPA/Alessandro Di Marco

Reselling websites already listing tickets, most expensive priced at almost €3,700

Photograph: Thinkstock

Ireland has the highest excise duty on wine in the EU. Wine sellers are angry, but alcohol awareness groups want the tax increased(...)

Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Plus: takeaway coffee campaign to help humanitarian crisis

Larry Mullen, The Edge, Bono and Adam Clayton on stage during the U2 concert at Turin’s Pala Alpitour Arena as the band kicks off their European leg of their Innocence and Experience tour. Photograph: PA

Tickets for Belfast and Dublin gigs go on sale through Ticketmaster on Monday at 9am

Ulster Bank has announced plans to cut its mortgage rates for both new and existing customers

New variable rate cut depends on the loan-to-value ratio home owners have

 Light and shade: Bono  onstage during the U2 “iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE” tour at Madison Square Garden on July 31, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

Did you hear U2 are breaking up? Why won’t they pay tax like the rest of us? Isn’t Bono an awful eejit? Conor Pope answers the(...)

The move signals the end of a relationship between the credit card provider and the bank, which dates back more than 40 years

MasterCard chosen as new ‘strategic partner’ for all of the bank’s credit cards

A consumer who gets both their gas and electricity from BGE will see their annual energy bill fall by €44.59.  Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Company plans to shave 2.5% off residential gas prices, saving consumers on average about €20 annually

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan with Christy Doherty of FBD and the first prize Belgian Blue Heifer at the Tullamore Show at the official launch of the National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska, Co Laois. Photograph: Jeff Harvey

Charlie Flanagan launches ‘festival of rural Ireland’ which kicks off in under two weeks

It’s not dead, it’s resting: Michael Palin and John Cleese in Monty Python’s Dead Parrot sketch. Photograph: Columbia Pictures/Getty Images

When something you buy turns out to be faulty, what redress do you have? Turns out you have more rights than you think – or than s(...)

Pat Kenny hosted five episodes of the television show for UTV earlier this year. Photograph: Maxwells

UTV Ireland says it is looking forward to working on ‘future projects’ with Kenny

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan: likely to summon bankers following his appearance at the banking inquiry. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Noonan to demand answers from bank chiefs on standard variable mortgages; businesses look for more credit as ISME reports drop in (...)

Bank has reported the data protection breach to the Data Protection Commissioner. Photograph: Alan Betson

Bank apologises after sensitive financial details sent in error

“The cost of uninsured driving amounts to approximately €60m annually, which equates to €30 on the average motor premium. This judgment alone adds approx. another €90m to that bill,and this does not include the potential cost of future motor insurer insolvencies, ” Insurance Ireland said.

Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland is liable to pay out 1,750 claims still outstanding

Hoteliers are likely to dispute the findings of the Hotel Price Index. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Sharp rise in Dublin where guests paying average of €128 a night, up 19% on last year

Dunnes Stores posted the strongest sales figures of the mainstream supermarkets in the last quarter and the latest market share figures show it increasing its sales in the 12 weeks to the middle of August by 8.2 per cent giving it a total share of 22.4 per cent.

Lidl increases market share as Tesco hangs onto top spot

 Along with the beef, bacon and cabbage, diners can expect to find a “potato-flaked bun” and baby kale adorned with Ballymaloe relish and Charleville cheese on the McMór burger. Photograph: Mike Blake/Reuters

Chain forced to withdraw term after McMór burger falls foul of food safety guidelines

Not everyone who had an AIB fixed-rate mortgage was entitled to switch to a tracker when the set term ended

If you were entitled to switch to a tracker and AIB didn’t say so, you may have a case

Illustration: Thinkstock/Irish Times Premedia

ATMs that only dispense €50 notes, bars that don’t do cash-back and taxi drivers who don’t realise it’s their job to have change: (...)

Vodafone sought a fee for the three months a customer had been disconnected

Plus: a standing order to a company that no longer exists

Hard to swallow: The  Green Party school dinner policy is launched at Kevin Thornton’s restaurant. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The Green Party proposal is hard to fault, but no government would fund it

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

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