The IMF has issued a warning on public sector pay, saying the Government should contain the wage bill as the advancing recovery starts to “fire on all cylinders”.

Global fiscal organisation backs means testing medical cards and child benefit payments

The ESRI believes the new Central Bank mortgage caps to prevent another property bubble were mistimed. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Alert comes in wake of Coalition pledge on pay restoration and public sector union talks

David Duffy (left) QEC author and co-author Kieran Quinn, speaking at the publicatioin of the ESRI Quarterly Economic Commentary 2015. Photograph: Eric Luke/ The Irish Times

Ahead of a blitz of political promises, the think-tank offers some perspective

President Barack Obama: officials took note he had criticised tax stratagems deployed in Ireland by big global companies

Government moved to scrap loophole in budget after body highlighted criticism

A queue on  Poolbeg Street waiting for the Garda National Immigration Bureau to open on Burgh Quay. “A policy of large planned increases in the amount of immigration into the EU, while also politically challenging, may turn out to be the only way to keep the European economy expanding in the future”

EU population ageing to have enormous impact on growth potential, study says

The government will be obliged for years to maintain a very tight rein on spending and do more to eliminate what is known as the structural deficit

Statement will be dressed-up variant of a formal document the Government is obliged to produce under European budget rules

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan: the UK budget speech has many  parallels with the Irish situation. In fact they  are so striking that the same report could well be pre-written in respect of Mr Noonan’s next budget in October, the last before the election here.  Photograph: Julien Warnand/EPA

Osborne budget: many economic methods ring a bell in Ireland

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has expressed concern about the effect of ultra-low interest rates in the global economy.

OECD urges states to take ‘more balanced approach’ to structural policy

Shipments of the bubbly stuff to Ireland remain flat despite with consumption down again in 2014

Dermot Desmond: Was aiming to develop a premier destination pitched at the top of the global market. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Financier’s private equity firm engages top legal advisers for multimillion dollar action

Anglo Irish Bank’s former headquarters: PwC did not believe interest roll-up data from the bank, which should, in the circumstances, have raised questions over the credibility of its other data. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times

Accountants uncovered fact that some big-time borrowers had ‘severe cash difficulties’

Former taoiseach Brian Cowen: told the Dáil in November 2008 that a PwC report ‘demonstrates, under a number of stress scenarios, that capital levels in the covered institutions will remain above regulatory levels in the period to 2011’. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Taoiseach was told banks might lose €10.6bn in worst-case scenario

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan: Government will publish “updated forecasts for 2015” in the spring statement. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Revenue from asset sales, ECB stimulus and buoyant exports at heart of fiscal agenda

Questions regarding goods made abroad have surfaced in reports from the Central Bank of Ireland. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Items do not pass through the State en route to purchasers but are still reflected in GDP

Bernard McNally, the owner of Supervalu in Clones, has seen an increase in buisness. Photograph: Ciara Wilkinson

Border town has seen uplift but hotels and firms such as Glanbia are also poised to benefit

The CSO’s Michael Connolly said the ‘traditional’ sector had posted strong growth Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

CSO finds that both domestic and multinational companies are posting expansion

On a seasonally adjusted basis, constant price Gross Domestic Product (GNP) rose by 0.2 per cent for the final three months of the year

GDP up 0.2% in fourth quarter with GNP up 2.3%

Chief executive of the Irish Exporters’ Association Simon McKeever said there was evidence to suggest small and mid-sized firms were also seeking to tap new opportunities in the British market. Photograph: The Irish Times

Currency weakness against sterling and dollar helping national recovery efforts

Sterling is down 10 per cent since the start of the year and the dollar is already down 12 per cent. Photograph: Getty Images

Euro’s decline towards dollar parity the big currency story of ECB quantitative easing

Arthur Cox in 1964. From the book ‘Arthur Cox’ written by Eugene McCague.

From corporate titan to missionary

A financial trader reacts as he monitors data on computer screens at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. With the European Central Bank buying its first government bonds this week to shore up the region’s economy, options traders are showing little concern that the DAX Index might decline. Photograph: Martin Leissl/Bloomberg

Bank buys up Irish sovereign bonds as part of European Council scheme

The failure to make more headway to settle the mortgage issue is seen within Government as a “chink” in its political narrative of deepening recovery.

Coalition planning campaign to solve mortgage crisis before election

‘Brexit’ would raise questions over the sustainability of the European system itself

Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank (ECB), left, speaks while Chrystalla Georghadji, governor of Cyprus’ central bank, listens during a news conference following an ECB meeting in Nicosia, Cyprus. Photograph: Yorgos Karahalis/Bloomberg

ECB will start buying €60 billion a month of euro-zone sovereign bonds next week

The ECB is expected to soak up between €500 million and €700 million of Irish bonds a month under the QE scheme, which is cast to avert threatened deflation and jump-start the stagnant European economy. Photograph: Martin Leissl/Bloomberg

Decision put floor under expectations on inflation, says ECB president

Jean-Claude Trichet, former president of the European Central Bank: the banking inquiry has sought legal advice on whether it could admit his observations as formal evidence which could be used when questioning witnesses and in its ultimate report. Photograph: Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg

Audience would have an opportunity to ask questions on ECB’s role in Ireland’s crash

Tánaiste Joan Burton interviewed by Digital Development Editor Hugh Linehan in The Irish Times office. Photograph: Dara MacDónaill/The Irish Times

Burton: Revenue growth to enable long-term investment in education and road network

The Nasdaq dipped below 5,000 the day after scaling the milestone level for the first time in 15 years. Photograph: Reuters.

British and US stocks ease some recent gains as Iseq gives up 1.08 per cent

Income tax receipts in January-February were €183 million stronger than in 2014 and spending in the Department of Social Protection declined by €238 million

Clamour to relax its stringent fiscal stance will increase

The department of Finance said the State collected €6.74 billion in taxes in January and February, an increase of €925 million or 15.9 per cent on the same period in 2014 . The overall return was €345 million or 5.4 per cent ahead of the target set out in the October budget .

Exchequer returns for February also show lower social welfare expenditure as job creation improves

James Reilly: the Minister for Children expressed disquiet that solicitors Arthur Cox are simultaneously working as corporate legal adviser to Tusla Corporate (in a contract worth €800,000) while acting for Japan Tobacco. Photograph: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Arthur Cox threatened action against State over plain cigarette packaging

Michael O’Leary: The group’s reputation for the shadowy exercise of power is at odds with his brash public image. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Ryanair chief asked to join select conference reputed to truly govern international affairs

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar, who will speak on political stability at the Institute of Directors today. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

The mantra of ‘political stability’ will be at the centre of the coming election campaign

 Chief executive of the IDA Martin Shanahan said the current pipeline of job projects looks “looks reasonably strong for the foreseeable future”.   Photograph: Alan Betson

Agency will seek to win up to 900 extra investment projects in next five years

Martin Shanahan, Chief Executive IDA, said that companies themselves ultimately decide where they want to locate. Photograph: Alan Betson

Latest data shows unemployment rate is within a whisker of Government’s 10% target

Central Bank economist Yvonne McCarthy: ‘People in fragile employment have a 5 per cent higher probability of being in distress with their mortgage relative to people in secure employment.’

About 20% of people in arrears previously unemployed, says economist

Inquiry chairman Ciarán Lynch welcomed the ECB’s offer of assistance but said it still wants to hear directly from Jean-Claude Trichet. Photograph: The Irish Times

Move follows intervention by Taoiseach over bank’s refusal to participate in investigation

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has warned smokers of the number of serious diseases linked to smoking and insisted the Government will introduce plain cigarette packaging. File photograph:Jonathan Brady/PA

Health Minister warns of numerous diseases linked to smoking

The Irish Cancer Society said it had received €20,000 in both 2013 and 2014 from Arthur Cox, one of Ireland’s most powerful business law firms and a legal adviser to the Health Service Executive.

Charity says donations from legal firm acting for Japan Tobacco will be declined

The relative lack of contagion to other stricken countries over turmoil in Greece demonstrates that once-potent vectors of crisis have been blunted. Photograph: Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

Focus on fiscal probity, political stability and banking recovery against backdrop of Greek drama

Leo Varadkar said there was no conflict of interest as the legislation was being prepared by the Departments of Health and Children and not the HSE. Photograph: The Irish Times

James Reilly seeks appraisal as firm comes under pressure to sever ties with big Tobacco

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams: the matter of the party’s progress was being raised in the wake of Syriza’s election victory last month in Greece. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Concern at likely impact restructuring of loans but overall perception of Ireland positive

Minister for Children James Reilly with an example of how plain packaging would look. As health minister, he refused to meet a delegation of tobacco industry leaders in Government Buildings. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Suggestion of a threat to intellectual property is nonsense; this is about saving lives

Legal practice involved in threatened action by firm over branding legislation

Chris Macey of the Irish Heart Foundation, a client of Arthur Cox, who said the organisation  recently decided not to “use the services of companies that further the aims of the tobacco industry in relation to the influence of public health policy.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Firm involved in threatened action over plan to ban branded packaging

 Japan Tobacco’s unambiguous missives   on plain packaging on cigarette packets, to Ministers James Reilly and Leo Varadkar, all but confirms the inevitability of action in the High Court. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

‘Big Tobacco’ watches closely as plain packaging precedent may affect larger EU markets

James Reilly: Introduced the Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Bill last year when minister for Health but he retained command of the file when he became Minister for Children. Photograph: The Irish Times

Benson and Hedges owner warns of legal action unless Ministers halt legislation

Protesters gather in front of parliament during an anti-austerity and pro-government demonstration in Athens on Sunday. Photograph: Reuters

New coalition government to get final opportunity to seek extension to bailout programme

Jean-Claude Juncker: The European Commission chief presented EU leaders with an “analytical note” on the implications of the wider crisis in the euro zone. Photograph: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

High-level EU analysis indicates ‘imbalances’ legacy since launch of single currency

‘As the talks ended in stalemate, participants noted privately that the direction issued from Athens severely undermined Varoufakis’s authority’. Above, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis  talks to Minister for Finance Michael Noonan  during  the euro zone finance ministers’  meeting  on Wednesday.  Photograph: REUTERS/Yves Herman

‘The dimensions of the challenge facing Tsipras became clear last Wednesday night when his close lieutenants attended an emergenc(...)

Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis: stance set out was rejected by all of his counterparts. Photograph: Orestis Panagiotou/EPA

Analysis: ECB president’s intervention ratchets up the pressure on Alexis Tsipras

The statistical change in question centres on a big increase in the recorded value of “contract manufacturing” conducted outside Ireland for certain groups registered here. Illustration: Thinkstock

At issue is what would happen if impact of four or five big firms were suddenly withdrawn

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with  Italy’s prime minister Matteo Renzi (left) and his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras  during a European Union leaders summit in Brussels. Photograph: Reuters

Greek move, seen as political climbdown, follows standoff with EU finance ministers

(left to right) Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras and Taoiseach Enda Kenny pose for a “family photo” during an European Union leaders summit in Brussels. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

Taoiseach declines to comment on whether Tsipras over-promised during election

Michael Noonan: in Brussels attending the meeting of euro zone finance ministers. Photograph: The Irish Times

Greek finance minister Varoufakis pulls plug after joint statement agreed in Brussels

Michael Noonan: Sympathetic to the Greek people’s humanitarian difficulties, but he said sovereign governments were responsible for their own affairs. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Coalition undecided on seeking similar measures if Athens secures concessions

A number of credit unions ran into severe financial trouble in the financial crash, the most notable being Newbridge Credit Union. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Sector would face steep regulatory hurdles over home loans, say officials

In New York, Twitter jumped 15.8 per cent to $47.77. Photograph: Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Dublin market ‘a bit weaker overall’ in line with European sentiment

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and IMF managing director Christine Lagarde in Dublin earlier this year.The Government has paid off a further €3.5 billion of its IMF debt as part of an early repayment plan. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Early repayment plan means further €5.5 billion to be paid in ‘coming months’

Irish household debt ratio reduction second only to United States, reveals McKinsey report

A Central Bank study says mortgage indebtedness proves to be a “particularly heavy burden” for the younger age cohort.

Central Bank research adds to picture of a generation under strain

Central Bank chief economist Gabriel Fagan said EU rules compelled Ireland to continue cutting the structural deficit. Photograph: The Irish Times

Central Bank: ‘Essential to build on and consolidate achievements so far’

The Central Bank has urged pay restraint in order, it says, to safeguard competitiveness. Photograph: The Irish Times

Warning comes only days after Siptu’s call for 5% pay increase across the economy

The public finances were in surplus at the end January to the tune of €781 million, compared to a €1.14 billion deficit in the same period in 2014. Taking Sepa’s introduction into account, the year-on-year improvement in the exchequer balance to end January was €680 million.

Income tax continues to rise while VAT receipts increased

the Central Bank  said it is now projecting that economic output will expand 3.7 per cent on a gross domestic product basis in 2015.

Government should maintain ‘prudent’ fiscal stance, it says

Goodbody chief economist Dermot O’Leary said in the wake of the ECB’s decision to initiate quantitative easing the NTMA could potentially sell 30-year debt at an annual yield close to 2.2 per cent. Photograph: Reuters

State borrowing costs lower than ever

Former taoiseach John Bruton: “It is not just a matter of social justice, although it certainly is that, it is a matter of pragmatic self-interest for today’s, eventually to be retired, workforce and electorate.” Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Former taoiseach says it is essential to give every educational advantage to small children

Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, greets new Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens. They held talks amid an escalating dispute with the country’s international creditors. Photograph: Orestis Panagiotou/EPA

Rhetorical games since victory are the shadow-boxing preamble to the main event

 Mark Carney: sees scant cause to draw parallels between the “unique” plight of Greece and the scene here.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Bank of England governor says Irish economy has fixed the core of its banking

Mark Carney: “Prosperity of all countries in the euro area is as much in Germany’s interest as it is in those countries’ interest and the German government recognises this.” Photograph:  Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Carney: Berlin’s national interest best served by making payments to other member states

Craig Beaumont, IMF mission chief to Ireland: “In future, if warranted by financial stability risks, the Central Bank should deploy macroprudential tools to preserve the resilience of the financial sector.”  Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Report welcomes Central Bank action but highlights spike in commercial sector

Supply and demand: precise loan-to-value limits  on bank loans for property purchases are to be applied as and from now.  Photograph: Aidan Crawley

With immediate limits on credit excess, the loan caps aim to steady the market

The Central Bank. The IMF has reservations about proposals to phase in the Central Bank requirement for a 20 per cent deposit for residential mortgages.

Fund also says State should look at universal welfare entitlements

Lightning strikes over buildings at central Syntagma square during heavy rainfall in Athens  on Monday. Photograph: Marko Djurica/Reuters

Euro zone officials indicate the best Tsipras can angle for is an easing of loan conditions

The Information Commissioner has refused a Freedom of Information appeal by The Irish Times for official records on the liquidation of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, the former Anglo Irish Bank. Photograph: Alan Betson

‘Irish Times’ sought reports to Minister on termination of IBRC

An inflated Euro sign sits in front of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. Photograph: EPA/Arne Dedert

European shares deliver their biggest weekly gains in more than three years

Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank.  The European Central Bank will purchase 60 bn euros of bonds per month until end September 2016, Draghi announced. Photograph: Daniel Roland/AFP/Getty Images

Might of ECB has unleashed Quantitative Easing to fight deflationary spiral

The belated new plan must be seen through the prism of the ECB’s habitual reluctance to engage in such policies and the inevitability of friction with the economic establishment in Germany.  Photograph: Getty Images

Arthur Beesley: Decisive turnaround in euro zone needed to reinforce domestic recovery

ECB chief Mario Draghi said the intervention would continue “until we see a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation which is consistent with our aim”. Photograph: Michael Probst/AP

Quantitative easing expected to benefit Irish exports and tourism and bring more lending

Debut property buyers may get improved deal under specific Central Bank restrictions

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde at Dublin Castle listening to Minister for Finance Micheal Noonan’s address at the IMF conference. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Minister for Finance fears stimulus plan to revive euro economy would be ‘ineffective’

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and IMF managing director Christine Lagarde meet at Government Buildings in Dublin on Monday. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Christine Lagarde says Irish people have made massive efforts and ‘huge sacrifices’

Brian Cowen. The Oireachtas banking inquiry plans to call the former taoiseach to a full hearing in due course, but this will not happen before summer. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Former taoiseach invited early to reply to Central Bank governor’s evidence

The headquarters of the ECB in Frankfurt. Ireland has a potential to be the fastest growing euro zone country in 2015, Mr Coeuré

ECB official advises Ireland to keep finances on prudent track

Benoit Coeuré: Ireland must avoid spending money it does not have

‘Ireland has potential to be the fastest-growing euro zone country in 2015’

 Benoit Coeuré believes Ireland is “not out of danger” and hopes for “fiscal continuity”. Photograph: Courtesy of ECB

Executive discusses budgets, bondholders, Trichet letters and banking inquiries

A 500 Mark note printed during the Weimar Republic.

It was not for nothing that the ECB’s independence was enshrined in European law

C&C was the big talking point in Dublin after warning of lower profits as a result of weaker sales in the final months of 2014

Global sell-off throws off indices and sees Irish market close almost 1 per cent down

Pierre Moscovici: European Commissioner said media reports concerning water sector reform did not reflect the commission’s position. Photograph: Getty Images

Visit by troika sparked row over change to flat charge for water

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers announcing the new Bill. Photograph: Stephen Davison

New tax rates in the North will see a keen rivalry for FDI over the coming years

Patrick Honohan, Central Bank of Ireland  govenor: he found in 2010 that the major responsibility for the crisis lay with the directors and senior managers of  banks. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Panel will wonder if timidity in Dame Street was based on avoiding antagonising anyone in Merrion Street

Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England:  published  Bank of England  records on foot of a transparency drive. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Bank of England minutes from 2008 show Irish bank guarantee blamed for halting global interbank lending

Credit Suisse  wants to take advantage of lower costs following increased regulation in London. Photograph: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

Bank has sought regulatory approval from Central Bank for some operations in Dublin

 Pensioners hold a banner during a rally demanding their pension bonuses back outside the labour ministry in Athens. Photograph: Simela Pantzartzi/EPA

Athens and Berlin set for battle of wills if Greek hard left wins this month’s election

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has warned that political instability would lead inevitably to economic instability. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Analysis: positive Exchequer returns will help Coalition face coming election

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said the exchequer figures showed the recovery was bedding down, saying the Government could release additional funding to the health and education services and reduce personal taxes. “The evidence of these figures is that the growth is continuing into 2015,” he said.  File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Spending overruns to see budget deficit for 2014 come in higher than forecast

Local property tax receipts came in 10.6 per cent behind target for the year while income tax receipts in December came in a little lower than projected.

Local property tax receipts come in 10.6% behind target

Bid interest in Aer Lingus remains to be settled in 2015 and the airline’s stock advanced 3.19 per cent to finish at €2.295

Quiet day in Dublin but Aer Lingus, CRH, Smurfit Kappa and Bank of Ireland all up

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