Photograph: Thinkstock

FRIENDSHIP WEEK: Shakespeare wrote ‘neither a borrower nor a lender be’, but was he being a bit dogmatic?

A garda on duty at the cordoned off entrance to the Regency Hotel, Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Staff member who made emergency call describes terror as gunmen attack hotel

Photograph: Thinkstock

Plus: Problem setting up Tesco direct debit

A significant increase in package-holiday spending has seen Irish travel agents record “an unprecedented level of booking enquires” in January

Visa report shows spending up on holidays, nights out and new cars helped by higher pay

Philip Lane: the governor of the Central Bank is open-minded about the rules. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

A year ago the Central Bank of Ireland announced new mortgage restrictions. How have the rules affected the property market – and (...)

Up to 50,000 families could lose their homes over the next two years and a “mortgage time bomb” will explode if the European Central Bank raises interest rates. Photograph: Daniel Roland/AFP/Getty Images

The Phoenix Project also accuses the Government over the mortgage arrears crisis

A trip to space for you and your friends might be just the ticket if you’ve got a pile of money after the EuroMillions win. File photograph: Getty Images

Why not visit space with 289 friends? There are worse ways to spend money

Birds fly near Whitley Bay, Northumberland in the UK beneath rare nacreous clouds on the coastline. The same formations have been spotted in Ireland. Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Disappointingly non-magical explanation behind nacreous clouds, says Met Éireann

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton said: ‘There is potentially a real inequality between these players which can be abused in a manner that is not in the interests of jobs, consumers or sustainable safe food.’  Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Richard Bruton says regulations ensure industry dealings are ‘fair and sustainable’

Photograph: Thinkstock

With great variety comes great confusion – and great expense, if you don’t choose wisely. Switching to a cheaper TV and broadband (...)

An air passenger’s rights in the case of cancellation are clear and unambiguous. Photograph: Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Plus: an unwelcome surprise in Allianz’s small print

Shane Richie and Jessica Wallace in rehearsals for The Perfect Murder. Photograph: Darren Bell

Jessica Wallace and Shane Richie – Kat and Alfie in EastEnders – are headed for a Dublin stage. They talk about Irish stereotypes (...)

Fine Gael’s John Deasy accused the HSE of lying to the Oireachtas over the apology. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Vulnerable adult left in foster home for 13 years after it was subject to abuse allegations

Mark Griffin, Secretary General of the Department of Communications, appears before the Public Accounts Committee to discuss Eircode.

Officials from Department of Communication defend system which cost State €38m

 Minister for Communications  Alex White at the official launch of the Eircode system in  Dublin. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Emergency service expects to begin using controversial postcodes next month

Noeline Blackwell, director of Flac, has welcomed a new legal scheme for people in mortgage debt. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Support system will help those at risk of losing their homes, director claims

The hotel said that “during the incident the fire team and management followed correct protocols designed to ensure the safety of our guests and staff”. Photograph: The Irish Times

Five-star hotel conducting investigation into what exactly caused fault with the fire alarm

Yorkies used to be 70g, now they are 46g but the company still charges you the same amount of money.

Chocolate bars are getting smaller and the companies claim to be doing us a favour

Your first pay packet to take account of the 2016 budget is about to land. Will it make a big difference to your income and outg(...)

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

An irate reader has spent two months trying to transfer a Virgin account from his name to his ex-wife’s

A couple who survived the Batalcan attacks have  expressed concern over the manner in which the Shelbourne Hotel was evacuated after a fire alarm went off in the hotel on three separate occasions in the middle of night. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Hotel insists correct protocols were followed after false alarms during the night

Irish are fourth-largest consumers of sugar, averaging 24 teaspoons each day

Slowly, through a combination of fake emails, phone calls, texts messages or online posts, the victims are tricked into sharing confidential information

Social engineering is extremely targeted and sees fraudsters manipulating often vulnerable people over a long time

Lorcan O’Connor, director of the Insolvency Service of Ireland, has welcomed the fact that ‘the number of people availing of the debt solutions available through the ISI continues to grow’. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times.

State body accused of relying on spin to mask ‘a critical repossession and housing crisis’

The message on the Twitter website explaining that something is wrong.

Visitors to website greeted by message telling them ‘something is technically wrong’

 SuperValu has retained its position as the number one retailer in Ireland. Sales growth has continued to accelerate over recent months and reached 4.3 per cent over the past 12 weeks. The bounce took the retailer’s share of the market to 25.1 per cent

Supervalu retains top spot as market share goes beyond 25.1 %

A worker at a Texan oil rig. Photograph: Brittany Sowacke/Bloomberg

The falling price of a barrel of oil – which could go as low as $10 this year – has knock-on effects on fuel prices, general spend(...)

Steven Devoy of Keelings Flowers with grower Adam Green. An unseasonably warm winter has seen daffodils bloom much earlier than usual. Photograph: Keith Arkins

Irish flowers in supermarkets nearly three weeks ahead of norm

Joshua Whelan and Aoibhinn Fox, students from Colaiste Bhaile Chlair in Galway, were among anti-bullying ambassadors who have been trained by The Diana Award charity, and came to Facebook to look at the site’s tools for tackling online abuse and harrassment.Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

People only starting to understand what online social etiquettes look like, policy manager says

With the price of a litre of both petrol and diesel falling by about 50 cent since the middle of 2012, the average annual savings for motorists is just under €900 and could top €1,000 if oil prices fall further over the coming weeks. File photograph: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

Average annual savings since 2012 just under €900 and could top €1,000 if prices fall further

Kevin Thompson, chief executive of Insurance Ireland, leaving Government Buildings following a meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tánaiste Joan Burton and various Ministers. Photograph: Eric Luke

Meeting insurers will change nothing for homeowners denied flood cover

As a result of an overhaul of the rules which has now come into effect, those who do not pay fines will not be jailed except as an absolute last resort. File photograph: Getty Images

People not paying fines will not be jailed except as an absolute last resort

In ranges packaged differently based on gender, women have to pay more for being women. Illustration: Getty

Sisters are obliged to fork out for a ‘gender tax’ – not only for products they have to buy

Santa chose the Amazon Fire for kids over all other tablets because it comes with one year Fire for Kids Unlimited.  Or does it?

Plus: Gearing up for a switch from automatic to manual

The internet spending spree came on the back of November’s Cyber Monday which, Visa Europe said, was the busiest day of the year for online shopping in the Republic. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Online spending rose 16 per cent in run-up to Christmas, according to new report

Floods surround a house in the Golden Island area of Athlone.  Photograph: Bryan O’Brien / The Irish Times

The clear-up starts as €100m road damage is recorded and 470 homes have been flooded

Isolde Goggin: “The commission’s mission is to make markets work better for businesses and consumers alike”

Publication of recommended minimum rates meant consumers were not in position to benefit from normal price competition

Being able to swim has opened up a world of water-based sports for Conor Pope – surfing  and stand-up paddleboarding ... he might even buy a  wet suit. Photograph: Eric Luke

‘The achievement has changed my life. Seriously. And my children think I am the man from Atlantis’

 The Turley children from Golden Island Athlone onboard an Army truck going to school: Derbhla (9), Evan (7), Finian (6), and Gemma (4). Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Locals are at the end of their tether after weeks of floods and isolation in Co Westmeath

 Noel Fallon keeps guard at  sandbanks between his house and the swollen River Shannon at Wolfe Tone Terrace in Athlone. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Exhausted locals six weeks into battle to keep contaminated floodwater out of their homes

Don’t worry if you over indulged while celebrating, technology can help you recover

Dishwasher tablets: Under the new rules, detergent products must be sufficiently bitter to ensure children spit them out in less than six seconds. Photograph: Getty Images

Acrid flavour needed to ensure children spit out product in less than six seconds

Conor Faughnan, consumer director of the AA, has claimed that Government inaction on car insurance is costing customers. Photograph: Sharpix

Key changes could save customers hundreds of euro each year, director claims

Cars at a premium: driven by fraud and the end of a price war, the cost of insurance is set to jump next year. Photograph: David Sleator

Motorists are facing an insurance premium hike of about 25 per cent in 2016

JUNE: Clerys department store on O’Connell Street closes its doors for the last time. Photograph: Frank Miller

The battle of the supermarkets, property prices, Irish Water and revelations about Volkswagen dominated headlines in 2015

Grafton Street: Brown Thomas managing director Stephen Sealy said  “bad weather did not seem to put too many people off”. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Shoppers have been flooding stores across the State in search of bargains, say retailers

Jockey Adrian Heskin after competing in The Cardinal Capital Handicap Hurdle at Leopardstown. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

‘We’ve had to invent a new going: shallow,’ says a racecourse spokeswoman

Shoppers outside a Next store in Nottingham, England as sales get underway. Photograph: Mike Egerton/PA Wire

Bargain-hunters line up from early St Stephen’s morning in Dublin city centre

Supervalu has 24.7 per cent of the market compared to the 24.1 per cent which Tesco has. Dunnes Stores has 23.8 per cent.

Dunnes closes gap on Tesco as Lidl continues to enjoy growth

“The disappointed look in the eyes of the recipient who came after us made it clear they weren’t into calligraphy either.” Photograph: Thinkstock

Passing on a present you dislike to someone else requires a degree of cunning. Or you could sell it online or – better still – d(...)

Free-range bronze turkeys: the McEvoys of Sallins, Co Kildare, expect to sell 1,000 birds this Christmas.

Independent butchers say big retailers are using birds as a loss-leading product

The Radisson, Farnham Estate, in Cavan: agreed to waive 10 per cent “administration fee” to reissue gift voucher

Plus: every little irks one Tesco nonbeliever

Star Wars: Darth Vader serves popcorn at a US cinema. Photograph: Ethan Miller/Getty

When Conor Pope dresses up to be an usher at ‘The Force Awakens’, it’s as if people are mortified to see a man in a sweaty nylon c(...)

Photo of hoverboard seized in UK. Photograph: PA

Retailers told to stop selling items due to inability to prove safety certification

Roger Ryan (inset right), who rang his parents (main picture) just before embarking on a skydive in Australia. Then he stayed on the line. Photograph: Hostelworld

Skydive Skyper: Hi mam and dad, enjoying Oz - now I’m just stepping out for a bit of air

One  complainant said a claim that French toast  with maple syrup was ‘healthy’ appeared to be misleading.

Complaint against claim that French toast with maple syrup is ‘healthy’ is upheld

Willie Penrose said the next step would see credit rating rules changed to allow people recover from financial distress faster. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Legislation reducing bankruptcy term from three years to one comes into force in new year

An ice-sculpture in the form of Star Wars character Kylo Ben is displayed during the Star Wars Ice sculpture festival in Liege, Belgium on Wednesday.  Photograph:  John Thys /AFP/Getty Images

Argos says it has been selling three Star Wars products a minute since the start of December

The average price of a litre of petrol or diesel is cheaper now than at any time since March 2010, according to the AA’s Fuel Price Index. File photograph: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

AA says prices would be significantly cheaper if ‘emergency era taxes’ were removed

Twenty-six per cent of those surveyed said they would spend more on clothing and shows in the coming months. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Buyers more optimistic about the level of disposable income in their household

When tickets, flights and the cost of accommodation, food and drink are totted up many Irish football fans from both sides of the border will see little change out of € 2,000 if they want to see Ireland play all three group games in Euro 2016.

Irish football fans will see little change out of €2000 if they want to see Ireland play all three group games

Pricewatch has been selflessly stuffing its face with cranberry sauce, party platters, stuffing, cheese and smoked salmon in ord(...)

 Paddy Malone from the Dundalk Chamber of Commerce  on Clanbrassil Street, Dundalk, Co Louth. Photograph: Barry Cronin

Republic’s border towns have seen a double-digit increase in custom from the North

Threatened: Bernadette and Jude Harper, whose bank gave them seven days to leave their home.  Photograph: James Flynn/APX

Phoenix Project: A group of volunteers backed by two unknown farmer-philanthropists has helped thousands of debt-ridden people st(...)

The Private Residential Tenancies Board figures show rents nationwide increasing by 8.6 per cent over the 12 months to the end of September. File photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Figures show annual cost of leasing home in State is €901, up from €830 this time last year

Shoppers on Grafton Street

Black Friday and Cyber Monday were two of the key factors for the spike in November

Tom Quinn with his flooded house in the backround at the townland of Caherfurvaus near Craughwell. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

From cleaning up to future insurance policies here is how to deal with the damage

With less than three weeks to go before Christmas all the key indicators are pointing to the best shopping season since the economic crash in 2008 and possibly the cheapest since 2001, according to a report published on Monday.

Retail Ireland annual report says prices across the main supermarket chains could fall to 2001 levels

Irish people were planning to spend an average of €544 on presents this year, according to Eir. Photograph: Thinkstock

‘Shopping’ and ‘sales’ have pushed aside ‘Jesus’ and ‘goodwill’ as key words used at Christmas, according to a study; and Ireland (...)

Around 140 million Chinese tourists and 4.4 million international visitors visit Beijing each year so it’s a lot more used to its own than to strangers

With tourist sites ranging from old and dusty to high and shiny, and experiences ranging from breathtaking to mickey-taking, Conor(...)

Emily Sachs  on the Artwood stand at the RDS: The f ive-day National Crafts and Design Fair  has grown from 100 stalls in 1995 to 600 this year. Photograph:  Nick Bradshaw

More than 40,000 shoppers expected to visit Ireland’s largest design and craft market

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald has just brought a Bill to Cabinet which will see the bankruptcy period in the Republic reduced from three years to one.  Photograph: Thinkstock

Conor Pope outlines why the change is being made and how the process works

School children using Dublin Bus will have to pay an additional 5 cent each day if they pay in cash, but  regular child fares will not increase. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Dublin Bus users paying in cash will pay additional 5 cent in 1-3 zone area

 Aviva health insurance premiums are to rise by an average of just over 5 per cent from the beginning of next year. Photograph: Aviva website

Company will offer €100 off children’s health insurance on Aviva Select Plus plan

A website promising to take some of the stress out of Christmas shopping in Dublin by offering real-time information on car and human traffic, parking, likely journey times on the M50 and more besides has gone live. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times.

Website offers information on vehicle and human traffic in city which may aid Christmas shoppers

The stretch of Dublin along the Dart line from Lansdowne Rd station to Killiney are where average asking prices are highest. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

The Dublin rail house price map found Red line Luas offered most affordable housing

Protesters watch during the climate change march in Dublin as a steam train hoots its way across the Liffey on Sunday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

About 5,000 people march through Dublin to pressure leaders ahead of COP21 summit

Shoe sale: Ecco in Dublin city centre was open for business from 6am with Marius Stan, Niall Ruddy and Laura Bellani ready for the Black Friday sale. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Huge crowds fail to materialise in town centres as weather sends shoppers online

Ryan Tubridy with Jem O’Connor  (9) from Navan, Luke O’Connor  (4) from Dublin, and Megan Larney (10)  on the set of this years Late Late Toy Show. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Tubridy heralds the start of Irish Christmas with a show that ticked all the right boxes

Electricity and gas prices for hundreds of thousands of Irish households is to fall marginally in the New Year. Photograph: Thinkstock

Low international energy prices see Electric Ireland and SSE Airtricity cut rates

 Black Friday shopping scenes outside Smyths Toystore on Jervis Street, Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

No show by early morning bargain hunters may be followed by busy evening

Ryan Tubridy with Luke O’Connor (4) from Dublin on the set of this year’s ‘Late Late Toy Show’. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

This year's RTÉ show to feature more than 200 toys, with 285 children taking part

Conor Pope at the Bear Grylls  Survival Academy, Carton House, Maynooth. Photograph: Alan Betson

Ever wondered how you’d survive in the wild (okay, okay, in the grounds of Carton House hotel)? It takes stamina and a strong stom(...)

Hard-edged words to do with business have come to the fore at Christmas time, it seems. Words associated with consumerism such as sales, spend, shopping and retailers are among the most commonly used in connection with the festive season, researchers for Cambridge University Press say. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Traditional Christmas terminology being replaced by consumerist concerns, says CUP

Hoverboards don’t actually hover. Instead, they are made up of a small platform with wheels on each side - somewhat like a Segway minus the handle.  File photograph: Kent County Council Trading Standards/PA Wire

Importation of 1,400 Smart Balance Wheels at Dublin Port suspended over safety fears

Shoppers walk past a Black Friday event in London, England. Photograph:  Rob Stothard/Getty Images

Shops are questioning whether the sales event is more trouble than it’s worth

The new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CS0) show house prices in Dublin climbed by 1 per cent last month.

Dublin prices 34.9 % lower than at peak while outside capital they are 36.3% lower

Some well-known people tell Conor Pope about their best and worst gifts ever

Kevin Thompson, chief executive of Insurance Ireland, called for steps to address the increasing cost of motor claims. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Most drivers will end up paying around €300 more for a comprehensive policy

From the beginning of next year Greyhound will begin moving domestic customers from an annual payment to a monthly direct-debit system. Photograph: Alan Betson

Customers advised by email and post of monthly direct-debit system, says company

Describing his mammy as “amazing” and “a complete inspiration.” Baz was pleasing humble after the win.

50 Ways To Kill Your Mammy was awarded an International Emmy last night

The latest poll from the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) might give retailers pause for thought. It suggests consumers will spend an average of €563 this Christmas, compared with €600 last year. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Credit Union poll suggests average spend of €563 this Christmas compared to €600 in 2014

The latest supermarket share figures from Kantar Worldpanel in Ireland show SuperValu growing its share of the market by 2.5 per cent over the 12 week period to November 8th.

Dunnes close to relegating Tesco to third place

Under pressure: SuperValu, Dunnes and Tesco face stiff rivalry from Lidl and Aldi. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Supermarkets changed dramatically in the recession, but so did consumers

Conor Pope: not SuperValu’s idea of competent. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Checkout staff notice changing consumer habits long before the statisticians do. Our correspondent goes behind the till to see ho(...)

New York City restaurateur Danny Meyer is calling time on tipping across his 13 restaurants in favour of higher wages for all staff, funded by significantly higher prices on all his menus.  Photograph: Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images

One New York restaurateur is trying to end the famous US tipping culture by increasing wages and menu prices

Europe-wide move: the European Parliament supports fair practices for farmers and other retail suppliers. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Retailers should be made to reveal their profit margins, says the MEP

For the person who’s got everything, you’ll find the perfect gift here

Three million standard chickens are sold in Ireland each week, as well as 65,000 free-range chickens. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

Sales of chicken have rebounded after the recession and global food safety scares, and cheap poultry has become a loss leader for (...)

The annual cost of owning and maintaining a family home has fallen for the first time in four years, according to a new survey. File photograph:  Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

AA Home Insurance research finds that those in negative equity are still suffering

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