Central Bank and ESRI at loggerheads

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The ESRI's Kieran McQuinn defended the think tank's criticism of the Central Bank. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

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It’s rare that a row within what might be called the economics establishment breaks out into the open, but a war of words between the central bank and ESRI is now in full flow. It appears to have started when the think tank criticised the central bank for easing mortgage rules, claiming it had increased house prices. Central Bank governor Gabriel Makhlouf defended the bank last week but the ESRI doubled down on its criticism yesterday. Eoin Burke-Kennedy reports.

First-time homebuyers are increasingly looking further afield to find a property amid fierce competition for houses and the flexibility of working-from-home in the post-Covid era, new research from the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland (BPFI) has indicated. Ian Curran has the details.

The latest round of talks between Aer Lingus and pilots union Ialpa have ended without agreement, as a possible strike nears. Emmet Malone has the story.

Employers on both sides of the Border have called on the Irish and British governments to take action to make it easier for people to work on one side of the Border while living in the other jurisdiction without breaching tax and welfare rules. Mark Hennesy has the story.


Flender Ireland, the finance provider that has lent almost €68 million to small businesses since 2016, is looking to widen its funding base after emerging from a restructuring of parental and Revenue debt. Joe Brennan reports.

Kilkenny Group, the Irish fashion and design retailer owned by the O’Gorman family, returned to an operating profit last year as trading bounced back after Covid and it invested in new stores. This comes as newly-filed accounts show a trading loss for the year to the end of January 2023. Ciaran Hancock has read the accounts.

The Irishman running the Android operating system is stepping down. Google executive Dave Burke is that role with the tech giant, as he switches his attention to AI and bio projects. Ciara O’Brien has the story.

In Business This Week, Emmet looks at the impact of reforms to labour laws have had on both employers and workers.

Lending to small businesses doesn’t always grab the headlines, but it is arguably the lifeblood of any economy. Ian Curran interviews Belfast Commercial Funding boss Gareth Graham.

In his column, John FitzGerald argues that EU’s knee-jerk return to national business subsidies could distort the single market in favour of larger states and at the expense of smaller ones like Ireland.

Finally, investors in cardboard box maker Smurfit Kappa and US rival WestRock backed the planned $25 billion-plus (€23 billion) merger in meetings on Thursday, paving the way for a deal to create the world’s largest paper and packaging group. Joe was at the meeting in Dublin.

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