Business caution on Brexit, Finance Bill relief and wherefore RTÉ?

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

Will Boris Johnson still be smiling after this week’s parliamentary vote on his proposed Brexit deal? Photograph: AP

Will Boris Johnson still be smiling after this week’s parliamentary vote on his proposed Brexit deal? Photograph: AP


Business groups were cautious in their response to the new Brexit deal on Thursday, with many noting the complexity of the proposed arrangements, particularly for businesses in the North.

One commentator also raised concerns about a possible upsurge in cross-Border smuggling that could emerge from the new arrangements. Eoin Burke-Kennedy reports that Michael Doherty, a customs and border consultant and a former Irish Customs officer, reckons any divergence in trade costs or regulations could create a big incentive for would-be smugglers.

Markets meanwhile struggled for a consistent response to the deal, looking ahead to the chances of Boris Johnson getting it through the UK parliament over the weekend. We’ll keep you up to date on this throughout the day.

In slightly more positive Brexit news, the Government used Thursday’s Finance Bill to offer some respite to SMEs worried about complying with international tax rules on the pricing of intra-group transactions. Joe Brennan has the details on this, and other Finance Bill measures.

And still on Brexit, jeweller Martin Commins tells Ruth O’Connor how his extensive preparations for the UK’s exit from the EU leave him well-placed to prosper when it happens.

Outside Brexit, Eir has unveiled its new television service, which sees it signing up with Apple to be the first TV provider in the world to use the Apple TV 4K device as its sole set-top box. Ciara O’Brien has more on the product, which will include a one-year subscription to Apple TV+.

The National Union of Journalists plans to “seek clarification” from the new owner of Independent News and Media over fears of more job cuts. Mark Paul has the story.

Mark also reports on the Cork film studio behind animated production Sgt Stubby: An Unlikely Hero discussing a debt-for-equity swap with its Irish and US financiers after box office sales in America disappointed.

In his Caveat column meanwhile, Mark asks why so many successful businesspeople are seduced by the lure of sports investments? In particular, he considers Dermot Desmond’s latest move into Shamrock Rovers.

Our Business Agenda sees Laura Slattery ask what the near term might hold for RTÉ, which got precisely nothing from Budget 2020 and is now facing into a round of unspecified cuts to make ends meet. What, or who, might get the chop?

Dominic Coyle speaks to MSD country manager Ger Brennan for his week’s Business Interview, discovering how the former nurse from Tipperary faces up to challenges such as medicine affordability.

John FitzGerald looks at the work of Esther Duflo, who this week became the second woman for in 50 years to win a Nobel Economics Prize. At 46, Ms Duflo is the youngest ever winner of the award, her recognition stemming from a wide range of research in developing economies across Africa and India.

And in our Work section, Olive Keogh discusses the benefits of mixing generations in the workplace, whereby different age groups can benefit from mixing with each other. The resultant “pipeline of intergenerational wisdom” can be powerful, she writes.

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