Facebook faces Irish penalties; giant housing scheme challenged; and a glimmer of hope on inflation

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

Facebook parent Meta faces major financial penalties and significant restrictions on its ability to gather information from its European users to tailor and sell advertising after European privacy regulators instructed the Irish Data Protection Commission to issue a revised decision on its activities. Ian Curran reports.

Residents in Donabate are determined to challenge approval for one of the largest residential developments approved under State fast-track planning rules in the courts despite an offer by developer Cannon Kirk to scale back the 1,300 home plan and submit the revised plan to local authority approval to allay concerns. Mark Paul spoke to both sides in advance of a crunch meeting of residents last night.

Also in Europe, EU finance ministers have said they will examine whether just 26 member states can move ahead with a 15 per cent minimum tax rate for multinationals and get €18 billion in promised aid to cash-strapped Ukraine after Hungary vetoed an agreement on both issues. Naomi O’Leary was in Brussels.

The European Central Bank’s chief economist Philip Lane had some positive news for hard-pressed consumers as he said inflation is now probably near its peak although he notes that interest rates will need to go still higher over the coming months. Eoin Burke-Kennedy writes that his comments come as prices across the OECD bloc of industrialised countries surged to another three-decade high of 10.7 per cent in October, with food prices accelerating in most countries.


A bitter case involving two members of the Fitzpatrick hotelier family over the sale some years ago of the Beacon Court Hotel was resolved finally yesterday with plaintiff Patrick Fitzpatrick apologised in court for bringing the action.

Just nine companies and individuals feature on the latest tax defaulters list where they were reported to have agreed settlements of €2.8 million, well over double the €1.25 million they failed to pay in tax. The biggest settlement – for over €1 million – was agreed by a company that used to make log cabins but is now in liquidation.

Irish households continued to save a large proportion of their disposable income this summer, according to the CSO, possibly in anticipation of a difficult winter and higher energy bills. It comes as inflation is eroding the value of disposable income generally, despite wage rises. Ian Curran has the details.

Speaking of pay rises, industry and employment correspondent Emmet Malone reports that Vodafone is to implement a 16 per cent pay rise in January for the almost 200 staff at its retail outlets around the State.

Over in the US, European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said she was hopeful that resolution could be found in a row over the impact on EU companies and jobs of new US legislation aimed at reducing inflation and promoting its green industries. Washington correspondent Martin Wall was on hand as she spoke following a meeting with key figures in the Biden administration.

Back in Europe, Germany is braced for its corporate trial of the century when ex-Wirecard chief executive Markus Braun faces a court on Thursday over the collapse of the electronic payments firm.

The country’s highest court separately dismissed legal challenges to the European Union’s pandemic crisis fund on Tuesday, potentially setting a precedent for further backing of Brussels-issued debt from the union’s largest member state.

In an eight-page end-year review of the commercial property market, Ronald Quinlan takes us through the 10 biggest transactions of 2022.

And Eoin Feeney, who is head of retail at estate agents Colliers, writes that Grafton Street is on course to hit 100 per cent occupancy after a slow recovery from pandemic-induced lockdowns that saw 16 units on the top-end retail street vacant last year.

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