Pilots row stalls aircraft, €2.5m ECJ fine for Ireland and a new bear trap for Johnny Ronan

The best news, analysis and comment from The Irish Times business desk

As the pilots’ pay row rumbles on at Aer Lingus, parent company International Airlines Group (IAG) has said investment at the carrier, including new planes, will not be delivered until things are resolved. The dispute is due before the Labour Court soon. Barry O’Halloran has the details, including positive results at the airline.

The European Court of Justice has fined Ireland €2.5 million for its delay in implementing online safety rules the State was supposed to have done by now under EU law. Furthermore, the slap on the wrist comes with a hefty daily fine of €10,000 until it is done. The Government has said it is committed, reports Ciara O’Brien.

Joe Brennan brings news of the standing down of Darren Patrick-Green from Corre Energy, the Dublin-listed green energy storage developer, having been linked by UK revenue officials to a tax-avoidance scheme.

Elena Pecos, chief executive of Decathlon Ireland – which plans to open its third Irish sports equipment store, this one in the new Clerys Quarter in Dublin city centre – has been chosen as The Irish Times Business Person of the Month for January.


The Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) has noted a “concerning” drop in the number of mortgages approved for those moving home, an indicator of what is available in the second hand market. Ellen O’Regan reports on its latest data which shows, among other things, that 61 per cent of mortgage approvals in January were for first time buyers.

Meanwhile, in the maelstrom of the housing crisis, Cairn Homes chief executive Michael Stanley has said the lack of availably for young people is having a disastrous effect on the Irish economy. Reporting record revenues last year, Mr Stanley pressed home the difficulties in buying for the key demographic of 25 to 39-year-olds. “We are an affluent society (but) this feels like the mid-80s when people were leaving,” he said. Eoin Burke-Kennedy and Ciara O’Brien report.

Shares at CRH, the building materials company, reached a record high on Thursday among full-year results and positive outlook for the year ahead. Joe Brennan breaks down the performance that included a rise of 15 per cent in adjusted earnings last year to €5.7bn, 3 per cent ahead of the company’s guidance from last November.

Dalata, Ireland’s biggest hotel operator, remains optimistic for 2024 after its average revenue per available room (Revpar) in Dublin dropped 11 per cent in January and February compared to the same period a year ago. However, chief executive Dermot Crowley is looking ahead to good-for-business calendar events and flights scheduled for Dublin. Ciara O’Brien and Ellen O’Regan have the financials.

Goodbody was handed a €1.2 million fine by the Central Bank for its failure to put in place an effective framework to monitor suspicious trading. The February fine came about due to a breach of EU market regulations that require firms involved with transactions to have procedures that detect and report suspicious activity. Ellen O’Regan and Joe Brennan have the details.

Barry J Whyte takes an in-depth look at the world of developer Johnny Ronan in the nine years since he emerged from the National Asset Management Agency (Nama), a position he likened to escaping a bear trap.

In his column, John FitzGerald writes about Irish emigration, its past and modern forms and, particularly since the 1990s, the rise in immigration. It is a rich synopsis, with trivial nuggets – in the late 1980s, each Irish emigrant generated about four or five journeys a year for Dublin Airport in reunion travel – but what might it all mean in an age of global warming and a need to curb travel?

It has been a stunning awards season for Ed Guiney, whose production company Element Pictures is behind Poor Things, the movie that has landed no less than 11 Oscar nominations. But it is the rich potential of Irish screen writing he is keen to speak about with Laura Slattery, ahead of this month’s inaugural Storyhouse festival in Dublin.

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