Builders walk away from projects, Ireland’s tax haven label and Tourism Minister’s quandry

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

Builders are walking away from major school building and other public sector contracts they have won because of rapidly rising costs, the leading industry group has said. Dominic Coyle reports that the CIF says builders cannot afford to work at prices pitched up to 18 months ago when they were tendering for jobs, given the rapid increase in the cost of materials and labour since then.

Dominic also reports on proposals to go ahead with plans to raise the age at which people qualify for the State pension have been criticised by Opposition parties and groups representing older people. Age Action said raising the pension age to 68 was futile while most workers still face mandatory retirement from their jobs at 65 and would not fix Ireland's "ailing" retirement system.

In this week's Caveat, Mark Paul writes that while Ireland must restore air links to our nearest neighbour, that spells a quandary for Green Minister Catherine Martin who has to balance climate concerns with the need to reinstate air travel and revive the tourism industry.

The Republic is in the running to land a major new multibillion-dollar Intelinvestment, the tech giant's chief executive Pat Gelsinger has said. The move comes just months after Intel announced plans to create 1,600 new jobs as part of a $7 billion investment in the three years to the end of 2021 aimed at more than doubling the manufacturing space at its Irish operation. Charlie Taylor reports.

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In a week where a EU-funded think tank was the latest to use the loaded description of Ireland as a tax haven, Mark Paul examines the State's struggle to dodge the label, which is really beginning to stick.

In his column this week, John FitzGerald writes that Housing For All has a lot to commend it but it fails to address some key issues, and ultimately, delivery will be the only true measure of its success.

A shortfall in power left Ireland at risk of blackouts yesterday after the Semo issued another amber warning "due to a generation shortfall". Laura Slattery reports that Semo, a joint venture between EirGrid and Northern Ireland grid operator SONI, issued the amber system alert to power suppliers, meaning there was expected to be enough energy to meet demand, but possibly not enough in reserve should something go wrong.

In this week's Wild Geese we meet entrepreneur and arts performer Kiva Murphy who moved to Barcelona in 2013. The Dubliner says if she ever does "too much business stuff for too long, then I'll go to clown school or something for a bit. It's good to use both sides of the brain".

Lifelong digital learning is now key to keeping up in an evolving professional environment, writes Olive Keogh in this week's World of Work.The days of getting a primary qualification and dumping the books are gone as the pandemic has changed how people acquire the skills and professional development they need to do their jobs.

And in Planet Business, Laura looks back on a week of Shang-Chi box office glory, iPhone notch-watching and running out of stuff such as mattresses.

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Nora-Ide McAuliffe

Nora-Ide McAuliffe

Nora-Ide McAuliffe is an Audience Editor with The Irish Times