Little concern that a resurgent Dáil will be allowed stray too far from the economic status quo

Seán Quinn: When he entered the sector, other insurers expressed their bafflement at how he could write insurance profitably at such prices, but that did not stop them cutting premiums in response. Photograph: Alan Betson

If motor insurance is so unprofitable, why does anybody do it?

The proposed solution to under-capacity in a broke public health system is to avail of over capacity in a private health system that faces its own financial challenges (PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)

It is hard to believe that we have created a private hospital system that is too big to fail

Joshua Molloy and Omar Hussain: Both born in England and both travelled the best part of 6,000km to fight in in someone else’s war.

Both men eventually seem to have grown tired and disenchanted with war and fighting

Michael Lowry, whose complex tax affairs have become public knowledge by default. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times Dara Mac Donaill

Would we elect more politicans like Michael Lowry if we knew about their finances?

 Frank Flannery: “absolutely confident” he never signed a letter from Joe Holden of Bank of Ireland in relation to a  Jersey account.   Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Pity Frank Flannery and all those caught up in the Mossack Fonseca leak

Developer Ray Grehan.

Ray Grehan's quarter-share in €50m Dutch casino transferred to British Virgin Islands firm

Patrick Pearse: the Daily Telegraph writer Charles Moore portrayed the rebel leader as a religious fanatic

UK commentators have gone where Irish ones fear to tread

Vampire squid prey: Residents of Cruise Park Drive, Tyrrelstown. Pictured left to right, Alena, Lilian (6), Hannah (4) and Martin Malinowsky. Picture Nick Bradshaw

Nobody who just got a Dáil seat wants to be the Irish version of Greece’s Alexis Tsipras and Syriza - who stood up to internation(...)

Caring industry: Exploitation of these moslty young women is the rational response of anyone who cannot access affordable well regulated child care; which is pretty much everybody with children. Photograph: Getty

Workplace watchdog’s ruling will be honoured more in the breach than the observance

’We are going to Borgen the bejaysus out of you bunch of Scandi-loving ingrates’ Photograph: Mike Kolloffel MAG TV

If social democracy is what it takes to preserve the civil war fabric of our political system then so be it

The Government’s habit reached its denouement in efforts to reform the profession

Gardaí at the service for  David Byrne in St Nicholas of Myra church on Francis Street: A visitor to Dublin  in the vicinity   might have assumed  they had happened across the funeral of a pillar of the local community. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

How can it be considered a success when gardaí facilitate a public celebration of crime

Richard Barrett: Publicly expressed his concern over the State’s failure to provide adequate levels of social housing.  Photograph: Eric Luke Staff Photographer

Somewhat inexplicably the Government do seem slow to take up his offer of help

Members of the public beside a mural in Dublin’s Temple Bar area by street artist SUMS supporting a yes vote in the marriage equality  referendum. Niall Carson/PA Wire

During the marriage referendum they overtly tried to influence the outcome of the democratic process in their favour

 Belcamp House on the Malahide Road, Dublin.   An 18th century Georgian country pile that saw out its later days as a boarding school and seminary. Photograph; Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

The price of sites must bear some sort of relationship to what people are prepared to pay for a house

Why should government’s  fund – via taxes forgone – Zuckerberg’s perfectly laudable desire to “advance human potential and promote equality for all children in the next generation”. Photo: Jim Wilson/The New York Times

No need to get too excited about Facebook boss giving our money away

Former IFA general secretary Pat Smith. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Pat Smith’s salary is no more or less troubling than that of any other successful executive

The failure of the coalition to agree on a housing package highlights the bind it is in.

Some need house prices to return to 2007 levels and others need them linked to 2015 wages

 Thomas Flynn, Moatview Avenue, Coolock was jailed for 12 years with three suspended at Clonmel Circuit court as he was one of seven men who broke into the home of Mark and Emma Corcoran at Burnchurch, near Killenaul in November 2013. Photograph Liam Burke/Press 22

A thousand more on the dole in Garda district leads to extra 50 break-ins and thefts

Walking: Nama chairman Frank Daly and Brendan McDonagh, chief executive arriving at the Public Accounts Committee, (PAC) in Leinster House earlier this year. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

When you look at the background the agency’s position does not really hold water

The Asgard II, which sunk off the French coast in 2008. Photograph: Coiste an Asgard/PA Wire

Alantic Youth Trust want insurance money from sunken ship to help fund new vessel

EirGen employs 100 and manufactures high potency drugs for cancer chemotherapy

Miami-based Opko acquires Waterford-based manufacturer of generic cancer drugs

Eircom is seeking permission from its lenders to potentially sell its telephone exchange site on Crown Alley in Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke

Telecoms group wants covenants limiting its indebtedness significantly relaxed

 Athens, Greece: polls indicate a left-wing party which wants to repudiate Greek loans will take power

Eurogroup chief says room to manoeuvre if new government honours its agreements

 ‘The overt message was equally simple. Growth is up, unemployment is down and we did it by engaging in a constructive northern European manner with the troika.’ Above, Enda Kenny (right) with Alexander Stubb  Prime Minister of Finland, during a panel session of the 45th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.  Photograph: EPA/Laurent Gillieron

Enda Kenny’s efforts to use Davos to send a message to voters back home do not seem to have worked out so well

French President Francois Hollande: The ECB’s decision “should not stop us from carrying out reforms”

French president commits to faster reforms alongside ECB launch of quantitative easing

Governor of the Banks of England Mark Carney and managing director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde smile prior to a panel “A Richer World, but for Whom”at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Bank of England chief says Frankfurt’s plan will preserve prospects of prosperity in Europe

Taoiseach Enda Kenny during a session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland yesterday. Photograph: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Fragile recovery threatened by a ‘sense of populism’, Taoiseach says

British chancellor George Osborne, in Davos, welcomed the quantitative easing announcement but said it was not sufficient for a European recovery. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Expected weakening of euro should boost Irish exports and tourism

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

Enda Kenny speaks next to Alexander Stubb, prime minister of Finland, during ap panel session of the  World Economic Forum  in Davos. Photograph: EPA

Taoiseach expresses hope that Greece remain within euro zone

Walk on by: Snowmen representing countries worldwide during an exhibition from the NGO, action/2015, on the sideline of the 45th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Photograph: EPA

Stimulus programme dominates opening day of Davos economic forum in Switzerland

Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters in Cheltenham

Snowden documents reveal how British intelligence target Irish internet traffic

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is a global network of 185 investigative journalists in more than 65 countries who collaborate on in-depth investigative stories.

International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is global network of 185 journalists in 65 countries

The Minister’s plan to get Éamon Ó Cuív on board didn’t succeed. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

Events out west cut to heart of a flaw in the environment versus development debate

The number of Irish developers who got it right can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Photograph: Getty Images

A different model is needed for the property market

Dermot Smurfit Jnr: “I think Michael has respect for me. . . I would be super disappointed if he didn’t say: ‘Dermot is a good operator’ ”

The young pretender to the Smurfit crown on gambling, gaming and the ability to assess and manage risks rather than just take them(...)

Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee chairman John McGuinness: gave  insight into how the committee operates and what its real agenda is. Photograph: Eric Luke

Business Opinion: PAC chairman John McGuinness dealt fatal blow to inquiry

Part of the explanation for the catastrophic misjudgment of the blanket bank debt guarantee was that the then government did not know what it was letting itself – and by extension the taxpayer – in for. Photograph: Eric Luke

Even with different rules we would likely have faced a deep crisis in 2008

One suspects investors’ experience in Cavan will be more damaging to our reputation than events around Garth Brooks in  Croke Park. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill	/The Irish Times

A story with many elements of a good country song

Pat Phelan: “Internet commerce is a really unfair business on the merchant because no one else takes any risk. So it’s all down to one guy and what happens is he’s told to go ahead and later he’s told, sorry that was fraud.”

Merchants takes the hit in internet fraud and Cork entrepreneur Pat Phelan has devised a tool to help them spot dodgy customers

The Bundestag, in Berlin. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Business Opinion: German plan is so good it makes it difficult for us to plan long-term

Because of the limited powers available to the Central Bank, there is not much that can be done by the monetary authorities to rein in prices until this happens Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Opinion: The emergence of non-bank mortgage financing could be disastrous

Brian Comer: Operates on a deceptively simple rule of thumb that if something is for sale in a top city at significantly less than it cost to build, it’s a deal. Photograp: Ken Lennox

With assets worth €2 billion, the Comer brothers have come a long way since leaving school in their early teens to work as plaster(...)

 Minster for Finance Michael Noonan: said  he was not aware of any plan to link debt relief to tax reform. Photograph:  Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Retrospective recapitalisation commitment can still be leveraged

Johnny Ronan: it emerged last week that the developer is starting his comeback with a €40 million purchase of an office block in Dublin. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Opinion: Treasury Holdings liquidator to rule on whether to impose restrictions

Zappos staff: “Like American high school kids celebrating the end of term.” Photograph: Zappos

Who is in the driving seat here? Zappos or its employees?

Frank Salmon, owner of CMS Distribution, the Kiltimagh-based technology products distribution and manufacturing business

Group has invested more than £2 million in new systems

Google warned that regulating the web would cost jobs and help dictators.  Photograph: Reuters/Francois Lenoir

Business Opinion: notion of trying to regulate the internet appears far off the agenda in North America

ClubstoHire, the golf club hire business backed by Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, has signed a deal with German travel group TUI. Photograph: Getty

Golf club hire business backed by Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley signs deal

If the objective is to try and grow our own Mittlestand, the first thing that has to be accepted is that this money is not for everybody and needs to be kept separate. It is for companies that have been identified as having the potential to thrive in export niches. Photograph: Ralph Orlowski/Bloomberg

Business Opinion: we need to know more about the Strategic Banking Corporation before we get excited about an Irish Mittelstand

Then taoiseach Brian Cowen had said that while Nama would acquire loans from the banks at a discount, the developers would still have to pay back the full amount. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Maybe they did not understand what the agency was and how it was going to work

It now looks very likely that Irish Water’s debts will be included in the national debt. Photograph: Getty Images

The fiscal fudge indulged in by the Government over charges will have economic consequences

Patrick Neary: He may not have covered himself in glory, but it is far from certain that anybody else sitting in his chair would have cried stop. Photograph: David Sleator.

Patrick Neary is not uniquely culpable for the catastrophic failure of a regulatory regime that was unfit for purpose

Central to the defence mounted by Seán FitzPatrick (above), Willie McAteer and Pat Whelan was that Anglo Irish Bank had taken legal advice from Matheson Ormsby Prentice to the effect that the Maple 10 transaction was legal. Photograph: Eric Luke

Business Opinion: better corporate behaviour may be the hidden Anglo bonus

The speedy rise of Dublin house prices has caught the Government by surprise. It seems to have no idea of the root cause or indeed the likely solution. And so, vested interests have filled the vacuum. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Construction sector’s claims that supply does not meet demand lack compelling evidence

National Treasury Management Agency chief executive John Corrigan (left) and National Pensions Reserve Fund director Eugene O’Callaghan at the announcement of the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Business Opinion: strategic Investment Fund ripe for rethink

Minister for Justic Alan Shatter (centre): showing all the obduracy of bankers Eugene Sheehy and Brian Goggin. Photograph: courtesy of RTÉ

Business Opinion: why do we expect a culture of accountability in corporate life when we don’t have much of one in political life?(...)

“If the hedge funds take the bait, we may well be on the cusp of another house building boom, or at least a significant upswing.”  Photograph:  Gareth Fuller/PA

If there is to be another orgy of house building in Dublin, it will have to be funded by foreigners

The change in tax accounting in 2009 raises a question over the Government’s claim that Apple has been using the “stateless company” wheeze for years rather than having a special deal. Photograph: James Best Jr./The New York Times

Business Opinion: answers could undermine Government’s defence of 12.5 per cent corporate tax rate

“We would have to assume that when KPMG took on the job of IBRC special liquidator, it would have been aware of the potential conflict.” Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Business Opinion: as IBRC special liquidator KPMG has inherited and instigated numerous legal actions – but missing from the lengt(...)

Businessman Denis O’Brien is the biggest INM shareholder, with a 29.9 per cent stake. Photograph: David Sleator

Clarity of the Australian position is in contrast to the rather muddled approach here

“The German Constitutional Court has raised doubts about the legality of Outright Monetary Transactions. What it has not done is say the ECB cannot do whatever it takes to save the euro.” Photograph: Reuters/Alex Domanski

Business Opinion: if the German constitutional court says Mario Draghi’s feet are made of clay, all hell may break loose

The ECB rescued the European project by dint of one little phrase – Mario Draghi’s promise to do “whatever it takes” to save the euro. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Ireland cannot solve debt problem alone

The pay cuts and tax rises of the past five years seem to have produced a very large cohort of people who still have jobs but can no longer afford their boom-time mortgages. Photograph: Alex Slobodkin/ISPC

Revelation that 100,000 people with jobs can’t afford payments must inform banks’ arrears strategy

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter: is moving swiftly to appoint a charity regulator

You only have to look at the list of charities kept by the Revenue Commissioners to see it’s a veritable Pandora’s box

“The salary of [Rehab] chief executive Angela Kerins is already something of a cause célèbre.”

Opinion: Rehab’s board might want to reflect on whether the reluctance of chief executive Angela Kerins to disclose her pay is a(...)

The Minister for Finance Michael Noonan, who said ahead of Moody’s decision that “before too long, there will be funds flowing from China to the Irish sovereign”. Photograph: Eric Luke / THE IRISH TIMES

Way cleared for Far Eastern investors to buy Irish bonds

Moody’s, which gave Ireland its top Aaa grade in 1998 before the euro was introduced, cut the country’s rating to non-investment grade, or junk, in July 2011 following the financial collapse.  Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Agency upgrades rating by notch to Baa3 in a major post-bailout boost for the Government

 “In spite of the UK and British regulatory regimes being overhauled and the upper echelons of RSA having had ample time to learn the lessons of the financial crisis, along with pretty much every other financial services business, it remains prone to this sort of catastrophe.” Photograph: Philip Toscano/PA

There are only so many ways in which banks and insurance companies can consistently deliver high returns and all of them are d(...)

 Frank Daly (left) and Brendan McDonagh of Nama: none of the PAC members bothered to ask them who they believed was orchestrating the campaign against Nama to which they referred. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

McKillen’s central role in the controversy leaves Denis O’Brien in a tricky position

Making a splash: one of the more curious things about the new milk scheme is that, unlike the various other Bord Bia quality plans for beef and lamb, this is a 26-county scheme

New scheme adds another string to bow of southern milk producers in their battle to keep out northern milk

European competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia: expressed his concern at the “very reduced number of banks operating within the market”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Business Opinion: it is only a slight exaggeration to say the Government has let the banks’ customers be sacrificed at the altar o(...)

The fundamental reason the Aer Lingus, Coillte and Bord Gáis deals fell through is that the price was not right

The history of the sale of Irish State assets is not a happy one

Former Waterford Crystal workers protest outside Leinster House, calling on the government to protect the workers’ pension entitlements. Photograph: Eric Luke

Changes to the rules around defined-benefit schemes raise wider issues of moral hazard

It comes down to one question: how did the banks pass their annual audit, an independent examination of their books usually carried out by one of the big accountancy firms?

It is increasingly likely that we will never really get to the bottom of all this, as the temptation to run away into the post-bai(...)

An internal paper produced last year by the chief risk officer in the Department of Finance, Neil Ryan, called for a radical rethink in response to the changes that have taken place in financial services since 2008.

Convergence between banks and technology companies accelerating

Then  taoiseach Charles Haughey arriving to give evidence at the Tribunal of Inquiry into the Beef Industry in October 1982.

Everything changed the beef tribunal, and we have been living with investigations and business scandals ever since

ECB president Mario Draghi: has promised to do whatever it takes to keep the euro together. Photograph: Ralph Orlowski/Bloomberg

Precautionary credit line issue looks like a ball of smoke from which the Government is mining a political victory

“The best way to increase the supply of housing in Dublin is to keep up the pressure on the banks to do deals with people in arrears and develop negative equity mortgages and similar products.” Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Business Opinion: shortage of supply in Dublin due to negative equity and mortgage arrears, not restrictive planning

Apple: staggeringly cold-blooded in the elaborate cross-border strategies it employs to minimise its corporate tax liability. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

People get annoyed when they hear that companies making billions pay little tax

Fine Gael grandee Frank Flannery: tax equity arguments based on “ideological bullshit”. Photograph: Eric Luke

Business Opinion: a proposal to ease tax residency requirements may be financially tempting but is morally objectionable

Michael Noonan has a limited menu of options to choose from to make up the balance and will target the new “old reliables” such as taxes on unearned income. If there is a banana skin, it’s probably in the pension changes.

If we don’t hit the targets agreed with the troika, then there will be more cuts

As Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan noted last week, the banks are not – or perhaps cannot – move quickly enough. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Economic recovery story and bond market endorsement at odds with banks’ failure to tackle debt issue

Even allowing for the putative €100 million profit made by Nama on selling Michael O’Flynn’s loans, there is still a potential deficit of €400-€500 million his overall account

Balance of the €1.5 bn the developer borrowed from banks will be written off

The cheap milk companies can’t wait for the end of the EU quota in 2015, but the expensive milk companies are not going down without a fight. Photograph: Getty Images

Makers of expensive milk are doing everything they can to make sure no cheap milk is available

Bank of Ireland chief executive Richie Boucher (centre) arrives at Government Buildings for the Oireachtas finance committee hearings last week. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Business Opinion: Irish banking five years after the financial crash appears still to be primarily about short-term profitability (...)

Insolvency Service of Ireland director Lorcan O’Connor expects thousands of people to avail of the body’s services. Photograph: Eric Luke

Business Opinion: lack of transparency and banks’ ability to stall debt arrangements may cast shadow over new insolvency regime (...)

Unlike so many of his peers, Richard Barrett apparently never gave the sort of personal guarantees that have been their ruin. Photograph: Eric Luke

Opinion: property developer has the last laugh in his dealings with Nama

There was no secret that Seán Quinn had a great welcome in government circles.

Taken at face value, tapes indicate that perhaps Quinn did not use his influence

Whether the ECB’s Mario Draghi would be prepared to fund a vehicle or structure that would pay more than the market price for the Irish banks’ tracker mortgages is debatable. Photograph: Reuters/Lisi Niesner

European Central Bank is integral to most of the obvious solutions

Caroline Keeling in the pepper glass house at the company’s  140-acre farm  in St Margarets, Co Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson

Three generations of the Keelings have turned fruit farm into Ireland’s largest horticultural business turning over €300 million(...)

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter: appears intent on pushing his Bill through, although he has said he will hear any proposed amendments at committee stage this week.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The court services Bill is ridden with potential for unintended consequences

The banking industry’s poster boy from hell: Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm (left) and chairman Seán Fitzpatrick at the bank’s 2006 AGM. Photograph: Alan Betson

Impact on efforts to wring concessions from Europe will take time to play out

“Frank Flannery, the businessman and Fine Gael fundraiser who chairs the forum on philanthropy, called on the Department of Finance to ‘look with new eyes at this area and to do all it can to stimulate growth within it’. What Flannery means is tax breaks for big charitable donations.” Photograph: Eric Luke

What the Government is advocating is in many ways anathema to the European social model

Seán Dunne (second from left) arrives with his lawyer James Berman (right) into the Federal Court in New Haven, Connecticut, for a meeting with creditors yeterday. Photograph: Steve Miller

Developer claimed his spouse Gail Killilea ‘wanted to have her own financial affairs totally independent of me’

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