Johnny Ronan enters arbitration with council over Cherrywood row

Seen & Heard: Ryanair to sue IA; Premier Inn expands Irish targets; Enterprise Ireland’s €1bn idea; State invests €60m in climate funds

Johnny Ronan has entered into arbitration in a dispute with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council relating to a development in Cherrywood. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Johnny Ronan has entered into arbitration over a dispute with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council relating to the development of more than 1,000 apartments and an office block in Cherrywood, the Sunday Times reported.

The veteran developer has also separately been accused of defamation by DLR Properties, owned by the local authority, which is seeking damages from Ronan Group over the group’s alleged “failure to comply” with a development agreement.

The deal, which was terminated last September, involved the transfer of 12 acres at the 13.3-acre site in Cherrywood from DLR to Ronan Group. However, the developer failed to meet various milestones, the paper reports, due to what it describes as circumstances beyond its control including Covid-19 and other issues.

The two sides have entered into private arbitration over the main issue. However, Mr Ronan has reportedly asked that the defamation allegations, which he rejects, get a hearing. In an affidavit, DLR Properties chief executive Conor Dalton said “of urgent concern to the company are incidents of trespass and defamation and slander of title” committed “on behalf of the defendants”.

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Ryanair to sue IAA over lost slots

The Sunday Times also reports on Ryanair’s ongoing dispute with the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) revolving around the passenger cap at Dublin Airport.

The airline is set to sue the regulator, the paper reports, over its failure to assign extra slots this winter amid concern about exceeding the annual passenger cap at Dublin Airport. Ryanair told an Oireachtas committee last week that it had been assigned its standard 4.6 million-seat winter schedule but was denied a further 514,000 “extras”, which it uses during times of heightened demand such as Christmas.

The carrier is now expected to challenge how the IAA assigned the slots, arguing it has a historical right to these “extras”.

Premier Inn hotels to increase Irish room target

UK budget hotel brand Premier Inn has increased its room targets for the Republic due to high demand and low supply, according to the Sunday Independent.

Whitbread, the London-listed hospitality group behind the brand, says it wants to expand its presence in Ireland by 5,000 bedrooms, more than 30 per cent ahead of its previous target.

Across the State, the group is reportedly targeting locations with strong leisure business economies including Killarney, Kinsale and Westport, along with the larger towns and cities.

State invests $65m in climate tech funds led by Sean O’Sullivan’s SOSV

The State’s sovereign wealth fund has invested in two specialist climate change technology funds operated by venture capital firm SOSV, the Business Post reported.

The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) has invested $65 million (€60.7 million) in Sean O’Sullivan’s Ireland Biomanufacturing Fund and another fund focused on deep-tech start-ups working on issues around decarbonisation.

The former Dragons’ Den star said SOSV was excited to partner with ISIF, which is working towards its goal to make Ireland a global hub for biomanufacturing.

Three Irish lenders offering home loans out to age 80

Three mortgage lenders in the Irish market are offering repayments to those aged up to 80, driven by an increase in the number of divorcees seeking to buy a new home, according to the Sunday Times.

The report cited how Nua Money is the latest nonbank challenger brand in the Irish market to offer a product that will people to take out 35-year mortgages later in life. It is joining MoCo and ICS Mortgages in offering such terms. Typically, customers of the country’s pillar banks finish their mortgage repayments before they turn 70.

Ian Curran

Ian Curran

Ian Curran is a Business reporter with The Irish Times