Thousands hit as flights cancelled; new climate change tariffs; and banks promise action

Business Today: the best news, analysis and comment from The Irish Times business desk

Thousands of passengers have been hit by cancelled flights into and out of Dublin Airport over the past week, Barry O’Halloran reports. He says 60 flights – both short-haul and transatlantic have been affected, largely done to the latest surge in Covid cases but also because of strikes and staffing bottlenecks at various airports.

New EU-mandated climate change tariffs mean the Irish construction and farming sectors will face potentially significant additional costs from the start of next year on imports of fertiliser, steel and iron, writes Ian Curran. The aim is to prevent so-called carbon leakage, where companies move carbon-intensive production outside the bloc to countries with more relaxed environmental standards and fewer carbon taxes.

AIB and Bank of Ireland, the State’s two main mortgage lenders, said they are continuing to keep their mortgage rates under review, after rival Permanent TSB (PTSB) suggested that it and the wider sector could resist passing on initial rate hikes from the European Central Bank (ECB) in the coming months. Joe Brennan reports

Joe also has details of plans by the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) to start reporting monthly figures on the extent to which remaining banks in the State are opening accounts as Ulster Bank and KBC Bank Ireland customers seek new homes for their savings and day-to-day banking, according to sources. The initiative follows the latest round table between the banks and the regulator.

The boss of Ireland’s largest hotel chain, Dalata, has blamed rising hotel room rates on pent-up demand in the wake of the pandemic and the refugee crisis, writes Eoin Burke-Kennedy. Dermot Crowley said the market was experiencing “a period of exceptional pent-up post-pandemic demand at a time when supply is temporarily reduced as a direct consequence of the war in Ukraine”.

Separately, Eoin reports that the Republic is the second most expensive country in the euro zone for food and alcohol and the most expensive for tobacco. That’s the finding of the Central Statistics Office after it examined recent Eurostat data.

Arachas, the largest Irish insurance broker, has agreed to acquire another smaller rival – Dublin-based Stuart Insurances – for an undisclosed sum, as consolidation in the broker market continues at pace. Joe Brennan has the details

And Ian Curran writes that Irish car-sharing company GoCar has announced plans to invest €1 million in its fleet of vehicles this year, which it says will help it expand to new locations beyond traditional urban areas

Corporate enforcer, the ODCE, brought 62 criminal charges last year against individuals for alleged violations of company law, including alleged fraudulent trading and the furnishing of false information as well as to theft and money laundering, among other things, according to its annual report. Gordon Deegan reports.

Karlin Lillington writes that the overturning of Roe V Wade by the US supreme court throws into sharp focus the vulnerability of women – and, in other circumstances, men and children too – to the failure to develop effective data privacy regulations in the United States. And she accuses the large technology companies that were quick to say they would facilitate staff who needed to travel for abortions of virtue signalling as they continue to collect data that will allow authorities track the same women.

In Innovation, we look at a tiny robot-fish, designed by scientists, that is programmed to remove microplastics from seas and oceans by swimming around and adsorbing them on its soft, flexible, self-healing body. Other researchers are using nanotechnology to develop a new plant-based spray coating which can serve as an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic food wraps.

Olive Keogh reports on the Irish couple who were so taken by their experience of Korean cuisine during a holiday there in 201 that they have developed a business from it, selling Korean food in Ireland.

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