Beware an overheating economy; the cost of EV charging; and the return of Joe Walsh Tours

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

Photograph: iStock

Photograph: iStock


The budget could come back to bite the Government, the ESRI has warned, as investment in areas like housing, climate change and healthcare risks overheating an economy already experiencing capacity issues and heading for growth of 12.6 per cent this year. Eoin Burke-Kennedy has the report.

Installing rapid chargers for electric vehicles at its 120 petrol stations around the State could cost up to €90 million, Maxol boss Brian Donaldson says. Talking to Ciarán Hancock on The Irish Times Inside Business podcast, he said planning permission would be required for electricity substations on every site.

New data on the victims of scams are eye-opening. The number of consumers targeted jumped 80 per cent last year with €15.6 million taken, according to a new report from the Banking and Payments Federation’s FraudSmart team. More than two-thirds of consumers reported being targeted in the twelve months to July 2021, rising to 83 per cent among 18-24 year olds.

Joe Walsh Tours has risen from the ashes, with former shareholder David Walsh buying back the travel group’s brands, including Pilgrimages Abroad and Concorde Travel, websites, goodwill and other assets from the liquidators. No details on price were made available but it is unlikely to cover the shortfall from the collapse of the business in April.

With a commendable degree of understatement, the head of the Irish Banking Culture Board Marion Kelly says: “The truth is, trust levels among the Irish public [in banks] are not where they need to be.” The board is promising to review what the sector has learned from a tracker scandal that will cost it close to €1 billion by the time it finally concludes, hopefully next year, writes Joe Brennan.

The surge in demand for semiconductors has left manufacturers of consumer electronics, white goods and electric cars vulnerable on supply and quality, writes Chris Horn, with recent data from chip-verification group, Oki, showing that 30 per cent of chips examined were counterfeits.

The fossil fuel industry benefits from subsidies of €9.5 million every minute, according to analysis by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). No country prices all its fuels sufficiently to reflect their full supply and environmental costs, it said. The biggest shortfall was in paying the cost of poor health and death caused by pollution and also heatwaves and other global heating issues – which between them accounted for 71 per cent of the €5.1 trillion of subsidies recorded.

House prices jumped 7.2 per cent in the first nine months of the year, compared with just a tenth of that over the same period last year, writes Charlie Taylor, The Sherry FitzGerald review of second-hand homes says Dublin lags, with growth of 5.1 per cent compared to 10 per cent in the rest of the State.

The Government is likely to face higher pay demands from State employees next year if inflation continues to rise, the head of the State’s largest public service trade union, Fórsa, said on Wednesday. Martin Wall has the details.

In Net Results, Karlin Lillington remembers the death of Apple inspiration Steve Jobs 10 years ago this week and wonders at the way his innovations continue to dominate our personal technology.

And Ciara O’Brien looks at the arrival of Windows 11, what it offers and whether you should download in now or wait a little while.

Finally, former Unilever chief executive Paul Polman argues in a new book that a radical approach to social and environmental issues can boost business success in the long run. Speaking to Frank Dillon, he says that, when it comes to sustainability, “too many companies are playing not to lose rather than playing to win”.

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