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A new tax to promote cheaper housing; keeping track of your luggage; and the impact of the InfoWars judgment

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Workers monitor a crane lifting materials at a construction site in the Sandyford district of Dublin, Ireland, on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. The mass purchase of affordable houses — on the market for about 400,000 euros ($490,000) — set off a public firestorm and highlights the growing tension over the squeeze in urban housing and the role of large investors. Photographer: Paulo Nunes dos Santos/Bloomberg

Introducing a “site value tax” could potentially promote cheaper housing and raise significant extra revenue for the State, according to a recommendation from the Commission on Taxation and Welfare. Eoin Burke-Kennedy reports that such a scheme could either run alongside the existing Local Property Tax and commercial rates regimes or replace them.

As electricity prices continue to surge, not all wind farms will benefit from selling their energy into the market, according to the industry’s representative body. Barry O’Halloran has the story, which comes in the wake of regulators calculating that wind farms would on average earn six times for their electricity over the 12 months from October than they would have received two years ago.

A new branding and design agency linked to Indian multinational Tech Mahindra is set to create 40 jobs in Dublin in the coming months as it officially opens for business, writes Ciara O’Brien. XDS Brand will offer branding, packaging and other services.

August brought a small but continuing drop in consumer confidence in the Republic as households braced themselves for further price pressures, according to KBC Bank Ireland. The lender’s latest consumer sentiment index weakened slightly this month, reports Eoin Burke-Kennedy.

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Irish borrowers drew down more than €414 million in personal loans between April and the end of June, up 20 per cent on the same period last year and the most since 2020, the first year of the pandemic. Ian Curran has more details on the latest data from the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland.

In her Net Results column, Karlin Lillington reflects on this month’s Alex Jones judgment in the US, where the InfoWars conspiracy theorist was ordered to pay $49 million (€48 million) to the parents of a child killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shotting. She considers how taking on disinformation through defamation laws might affect freedom of speech, including for legitimate news sites.

Have you been spooked by tales of travel upheaval and lost luggage this summer? Ciara O’Brien has some advice on tech solutions that might help to ease stress levels next time you prepare to take a break, including devices to track your bags and headphones to cancel out the noise of your neighbouring passenger’s TikTok habit.

Ciara also reviews the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 handset, which could be yours for €1,909.

Chris Horn looks into a Teagasc project involving seaweed that could help farmers seeking to meet targets for methane reductions from their herds. Drawing on an organic solution such as this would amplify the State’s reputation for producing high-quality and healthy foods, he writes.

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