A voice in Brussels; fast-tracking commercial disputes; and options for mortgageholders

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

The Four Courts in Dublin.

The Four Courts in Dublin.


Fears that Ireland is losing influence in Brussels as a generation of powerful civil servants draw close to retirement has triggered a move by Government to encourage more Irish graduates to work in European institutions, writes Naomi O’Leary. A new strategy hopes to sharply increase the numbers working at the heart of the European Union.

A new arbitration service, working with some of Ireland’s top barristers and a retired appeal court judge, is hoping to offer quicker binding decisions at a much reduced cost in commercial disputes against the background of a growing backlog of cases in the High Court caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Colm Keena has the details of the service that has the support of the judge heading the Commercial Division of the court.

Shannon Energy and its Danish partner Obton will today announce they have more than doubled the amount they are investing in building out Irish solar farms to €750 million, writes Barry O’Halloran. The announcement comes a day after French energy giant EDF announced plans to start start work on its first three solar farms in Ireland.

The vaccination rollout and the gradual lifting of coronavirus restrictions saw the Irish manufacturing sector expand at the fastest rate on record in April, Ciara O’Brien reports, but that is having an impact on already stressed supply chains.

With RTÉ’s financial squeeze in the public spotlight at a recent Dáil committee, Laura Slattery asks whether now is the time for the broadcaster to cash in on its Montrose base in Donnybrook and move elsewhere, given advances in digital broadcasting technology.

Evervault, the much-hyped data security company founded by former BT Young Scientist of the Year Shane Curran, is to more than double its headcount over coming months, writes Charlie Taylor.

He also reports on a ¤15 million fundraising by Kneat, an Irish software company that helps businesses in the life sciences, healthcare and other heavily regulated industries digitise paperwork-driven processes.

Charlie also writes about Pure Fitout, a specialist construction business that has been worked on several of Paddy McKillen jnr’s Press Up projects is investing €3.1 million into a new business, Halt, to manufacture a novel non-toxic fire retardant.

Licences to fell timber are taking almost a year to process, according to the Government’s own figures, Barry O’Halloran writes. The figures, disclosed in response to a parliamentary question, are seen as a key factor in the recent increase in prices for timber to the housebuilding sector of up to 20 per cent.

Apple is taking to Irish streets to map public pedestrianised areas, parks and plazas previously inaccessible to its fleet of mobile cameras with portable kits that it hopes will make its Maps app more comprehensive in Ireland.

In Personal Finance, Fiona Reddan examines the options for mortgage customers at Ulster Bank and KBC, both of which have signalled their intention to leave the Irish market. Should they stick or switch?

And Q&A looks at helping a son and his family to pay the rent without causing any tax headaches, and also the best way to hand over the keys (and bills) of a holiday home to a daughter.

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