Bewley’s U-turn; mortgage rate cut; and anti-social travel

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

Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times


Bewley’s has made another U-turn, agreeing to pay its Grafton Street landlord - controlled by developer Johnny Ronan – over €740,000 in rent arrears and agreeing to reopen its cafe less than a month after making all its staff redundant and announcing the venue’s permanent closure. Ciarán Hancock has the details.

More good news, this time for borrowers as Permanent TSB’s new CEO Eamonn Crowley moves to reduce its market lagging variable mortgage rate and ending the practice of charging existing customers a premium over new borrowers for mortgage lending up to certain limits, writes Joe Brennan. The news comes as Avantcard eyes the Irish mortgage market.

Not such a good day for Bank of Ireland who were roundly condemned in a Central Bank report and fined €1.66 million. Joe writes that the bank was accused of a series of failures – failing to make basic anti-fraud checks, failing to report fraud to the gardaí, and effectively misleading Central Bank investigators.

Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon has also had better days. Mr Solomon, who moonlights as DJ D-Sol opened a €21,000 a ticket party in the Hamptons for well-heeled financiers and socialites that has since drawn the ire of New York health authorities and governor Andrew Cuomo.

The bankruptcy regime facing those unable to manage their debt after the Covid crisis will be a much easier to negotiate than the rules in place when he took over during the financial crisis, retiring Official Assignee Chris Lehane tells Colm Keena. But the man overseeing bankrupts for over a decade warns that “those who act the maggot stay in, until we find out why they haven’t been co-operating.”

After a day when tourism was to the fore with both airlines and airports warning TDs of the risks to the economy of continuing restrictions on travel and requirements to quarantine, Eoin Burke-Kennedy asks whether foreign travel in post-Covid Ireland is simply seen as anti-social behaviour.

Meanwhile, Irish Ferries parent, ICG, warned that Ireland’s confusing and “anomalous” rules on travel risk unravelling the Common Travel Area with Britain, writes Ciara O’Brien.

GlowDX, an Irish diagnostics start-up looking to make home-testing more accessible for consumers has raised over €1 million from a series of angel investors as it focuses on Latin America. Charlie Taylor has the details.

The private rental sector remains the sweet spot in the Irish property market with German investor DWS pays €145 million for a portfolio of 317 homes in Dublin in the biggest private rented sector transaction of the year to date. Ronald Quinlan has the details.

In the same sector, he reports that Knight Frank has established a specific team to grab a slice of the private rental investment business.

Separately, fast-growing US pharma group Regeneron has agreed to pay €60 per sq ft for new Dublin offices at the Bord Gáis HQ at One Warrington Place.

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