Eason shelves O’Connell street store plan, Donohoe rated and the NCT powder keg

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

Irish-owned books and stationery retailer Eason has shelved a plan to sell its flagship O’Connell Street store due to a softness in the commercial property market. Eason chairman David Dilger told shareholders of the decision at the company’s annual general meeting on Tuesday, adding that it would save the retail business about €900,000 in rent and licence income. Ciarán Hancock has the details.

A housing study by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) advises the Government to add construction trades such as carpentry and plumbing to the State’s critical skills list, which would make it easier for qualified workers from outside the European Union to get visas here. Mark Paul reports.

Paschal Donohoe, who finishes the second of two terms as finance minister later this month, has built a reputation for competence, for being cool under pressure. His unflappable, always-on-message style has endeared him to policymakers in Europe. His re-election as president of the influential Eurogroup, while relinquishing the finance brief here, is testament to that, writes Eoin Burke-Kennedy.

The Porterhouse group wants to build tourist accommodation on top of its flagship Dublin brewpub in Temple Bar, amid rumoured interest from outside investors in buying the landmark property, writes Mark Paul. Iskasinc, the Porterhouse entity that owns the pub on the corner of Parliament Street and Essex Street, near the city’s quays, is seeking planning permission to build 11 bedrooms on top of the pub. Liam LaHart, a director of the business, said it will be “high-quality accommodation for visitors”.


The Central Bank of Ireland has pushed back at some negative findings by a European Securities and Markets Authority review of its Brexit-related authorisations of fund managers. Joe Brennan reports.

The NCT system in Ireland, which is run by a single operator, Spanish group Applus, is creaking like an old suspension joint, writes Mark Paul. Its online booking system is showing wait times of up to six months. Only now is Irish officialdom properly waking up the customer service disaster that has been endured for nigh on two years now by Irish motorists waiting for the Godot of a vehicle safety test.

So, like the recent Citizens’ Assembly, writes John FitzGerald in his weekly column, I’d like us to take biodiversity more seriously in Ireland. I’d like to see greater attention and funding for biodiversity, and sensible and workable regulatory provisions. But where I disagree is their suggestion around inserting constitutional protections for biodiversity.

In high stakes meetings, being face-to-face matters, says Steve Muylle, professor of digital strategy and business marketing at Vlerick Business School in Belgium. If the topic is of a lower order, less so, and voice-only calls or virtual meetings can be every bit as effective at getting the job done. Olive Keogh reports.

Irish Times Current Affairs Editor Arthur Beesley joins Ciarán Hancock on the Inside Business podcast to discuss the recent spike in applications by wealthy Chinese citizens to the Immigrant Investor Programme. The scheme allows applicants, with a minimum net worth of €2 million, to obtain residency in the State, if they invest in the Irish economy. With the number of applications almost tripling in the first nine months of the year, speculation is mounting that the scheme could be closed off. Later on the podcast, we hear from Economics Correspondent Cliff Taylor who discusses how rising interest rates, coupled with a slowdown in construction are impacting the housing market.

Britain’s biggest companies and their auditors are playing a £10 billion (€11.6 billion) game of musical chairs. When the music stops, we will have learned something about how seriously we should take the Big Four accountants’ opposition to audit market reforms, writes Michael O’Dwyer.

The net zero transition is a social challenge as well as a financial and technological one, writes Helen Thomas.

Stay up to date with all our business news: sign up to our Business Today daily email news digest.