BOI to close 103 branches; locked out of Covid support; and the scourge of work email

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

Essential businesses that have been allowed to open in Dublin city centre are at risk of collapse.

Essential businesses that have been allowed to open in Dublin city centre are at risk of collapse.

 

Bank of Irelandconfirmed on Monday it is closing 103 branches on the island of Ireland, reducing its network in the Republic by about a third and its locations in the North by more than half, as Covid-19 has accelerated a shift in the industry towards digital banking.

Essential businesses that have been allowed to open in Dublin city centre are at risk of collapse, traders warn, because tourist and worker footfall has collapsed but they are still not allowed avail of the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme. Mark Paul reports that lobby group Dublin Town s calling for the scheme rules to be relaxed to save businesses.

Legal rows between landlords and retailers over rent continue with bookseller and newsagent Eason facing a fourth set of legal proceedings over its refusal to pay full rent to the landlord of its Athlone Town Centre outlet.

Bigger Stage, a new company set up and led by former Virgin Media Television boss Pat Kiely, says it will aim to make Ireland an international hub for unscripted television production within the “booming” audiovisual market. Laura Slattery reports.

A Connemara engineering business has broken new ground in space for Irish companies after being asked to design and manufacture equipment for a European Space Agency satellite that is due to launch in 2023. Charlie Taylor has the details.

Charlie also writes about a healthcare software business Genesis Automation which has won a breakthrough contract in Scotland that will see its software help with cost management across the Scottish NHS.

And MML Growth Capital Partners, a private equity company that invests in Irish SMEs, has closed out its latest fund at €135 million, after receiving backing from State and private investors, writes Mark Paul.

Chris Johns looks at the wobbles in global bond markets and asks whether the era of cheap money that has allowed governments borrow freely to support Covid-hit businesses and workers is coming to an end.

In her column, Pilita Clark addresses the scourge of work email and says a revolutionary fix is needed to address the tyranny of the bloated inbox.

Finally, former Senator Joe O’Toole says recent commentary on the slow death of the Irish credit union sector is greatly exaggerated. He says credit unions have modernised, are now professionally managed and are looking effectively compete for customers with the mainstream banks.

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