Automation’s threat to jobs, BofI’s big Brexit plans and the state of the banking sector

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

Automation might not be everybody’s friend, particularly if you live in Edgeworthstown, Co Longford. Image: iStock

Automation might not be everybody’s friend, particularly if you live in Edgeworthstown, Co Longford. Image: iStock


Two out of every five jobs across Irelandthe State are at high risk of being lost to automation, according to a new University College Cork report, which pinpoints Edgeworthstown in Co Longford as being the Irish town most at most at risk. Charlie Taylor reports on the data, which also identifies the sectors where jobs are under most threat.

Bank of Ireland is anticipating Brexit by ringfencing a ¤2 billion fund to support small- and medium-sized businesses on both sides of the Border. The fund will provide loans for reasons such as investment, smoothing of cash flow and working capital. Ciarán Hancock has the details.

Still in banking, this week’s Business Agenda sees Joe Brennan considering the state of Irish banks a decade after the bailout. With thorny issues still facing the sector ranging from executive pay to interest rates and Brexit, he concludes that the garden is still far from rosy.

John FitzGerald has the environment on this mind in this week’s column, describing how he has personally tracked the carbon emissions from his family home since he moved in 40 years ago. He reckons that financial incentives are important when it comes to helping people to find ways to reduce their carbon footprint, while identifying ways to ease the associated disruption may be even more significant.

Mark Paul spoke to Mayo native and Joe founder and majority shareholder Niall McGarry for this week’s Business Interview, learning that the dynamic media man had a global outlook from the start and that if he had wanted to sell, he would have done it already.

And in his Caveat column, Mark looks events this week in a UK parliamentary committee, which advised that “companies like Facebook” should not be allowed to behave like “digital gangsters” in the online world. If that’s what they think of Facebook, what do UK MPs think of Dublin, he asks.

Rugby pundit Brent Pope tells Michelle Jackson about his clothing and shoes brand, which he hopes will encourage men to go shopping for themselves. With his range already in 150 stores around the country, Pope sees no reason why he can’t be the next Tommy Hilfiger.

In our work section, Olive Keogh looks at the idea of happiness in the workplace, finding that staff are more willing to extend themselves when their job gives them something back beyond their salary. She offers a seven-step guide to spreading happiness among colleagues and employees.

This week’s Wild Goose is former Clare footballer Carl Walsh, who was part of the team that beat Kerry in the Munster Final in 1992, after a gap extending back to 1917. He lives in Australia now, having arrived there with GE but since establishing his own business.

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