Gas rationing looms; planning for Christmas; and only fools work in August

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


Germany’s energy network regulator says the country needs to cut gas consumption by 20 per cent or face a crippling gas shortage this winter. The warning comes as businesses and households brace themselves for Europe’s biggest energy crisis in a generation and Germany scrambles for alternative power supplies.

Also thinking ahead to winter are Ireland’s Christmas tree farmers. We may be in the middle of a heatwave but Dublin City Council has set a deadline of the end of this week for tenders to supply up to 150 Christmas trees a year over the next for years at a cost of €400,000.

You know the pandemic is over when television viewing among 15- to 34-year-olds slumps, as it has in the first half of this year by 17.8 per cent. But advertisers are still bullish about the prospects on the medium for the year, according to figures from marketing group Core.

Things aren’t so good in Northern Ireland, where inflationary pressures prompted further declines in customer demand in July, according to the latest purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the region, exacerbating an already sharp slowdown in business activity.

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Cubic Telecom has taken out a long-term lease for almost 30,000 sq ft of Sandyford office building the Hive, in what is a boost for the commercial property market — the second-largest office letting in the Dublin suburbs this year.

And US medical technology company TE Connectivity Corporation, a world leader in connectors and sensors, has opened a €5 million rapid prototyping centre for medical devices at its existing manufacturing facility in Galway.

In Opinion, Irish Institutional Property chief executive Pat Farrell says the State needs a housing policy for five million people, even as some local authorities are, he says, on the cusp of finalising development plans that will bake in a fundamental undersupply of housing over the next five or six years.

Pilita Clark’s August plans have come unstuck and, in her World of Work column, she argues that only fools work in August when their bosses are lounging on the beach and so not noticing their effort.

Finally, in Q&A, a reader asks whether the Department of Social Protection will chase her family over any discrepancy in her father’s means test that saw him get a non-contributory state pension even while he had substantial enough assets.

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