Businesses seek €110m in Covid aid, Flutter to appeal $870m ruling, and pandemic brain fatigue

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

More than 15,000 closed or restricted businesses are seeking ¤110 million in aid under the Covid support scheme launched following October's budget, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe told reporters last night. The Minister said the Government would adjust existing pandemic supports for workers and businesses according to how the economy and jobs market perform next year, but cautioned that a €9 billion spending boost, predicted for 2021 by the Economic and Social Research Institute, would depend on Irish people's confidence about their jobs. Barry O'Halloran reports.

Ireland, home of Europe's biggest banking crisis, has emerged as key to helping Greek banks shift problem loans off their balance sheets in recent years. Joe Brennan reports on how Greek banks have put €53.9 billion of Greek assets into Irish-domiciled special purpose vehicles (SPVs), according to figures provided to The Irish Times by the Central Bank in response to questions.

We've been saving more money overall this year due to Covid-19 restrictions, but the surge in household deposits is causing problems for credit unions. New figures show they had just €27 out on loan for every €100 of assets at the end of September, among the lowest ratios across credit union movements worldwide, writes Joe Brennan.

Meanwhile, almost 55,500 homeowners owed ¤7.6 billion in mortgage arrears at the end of September, while lenders held 801 repossessed properties, reports Barry O'Halloran.


Paddy Power owner Flutter Entertainment is likely to appeal an $870 million (€710 million) ruling against it by a US court that took the Irish group by surprise on Thursday. The ruling is linked to online poker games hosted between 2006 and 2011 by a company called Oldford, part of The Stars Group which merged with Flutter earlier this year. Barry O'Halloran also has that story.

Virgin Media has agreed to refund 100,000 customers a total of €3 million after continuing to charge them for services that had been cancelled. The average refund amount due to customers is €33. Charlie Taylor has the details.

Meanwhile, Ryanair has been ordered to give €5,000 to charity to avoid a court conviction after a technical glitch prevented thousands of customers from opting out of unwanted promotional emails. Windsor Motors Limited, AA Ireland and telecoms company Three Ireland will be spared recorded convictions for similar breaches, caused by technical problems, if they also make charitable donations, writes Tom Tuite.

Plans for a new hotel development for Dublin city centre that will spell "last orders" for well-known Dublin venues Rí-Rá nightclub and the Globe bar have been put on hold, after three separate appeals were lodged with An Bord Pleanála against Dublin City Council approval for a major expansion of the Central Hotel, writes Gordon Deegan.

Covid-19 restrictions have sent passenger numbers at Cork and Dublin airports tumbling by close to 80 per cent this year, but both are planning to refund charges to airlines next year in an effort to boost flying, writes Barry O'Halloran.

In Agenda this week, Mark Paul focuses in on the beleaguered tourism sector, and ponders how the introduction of a Covid-19 vaccine could spark friction between economic and medical interests over the resumption of the industry next year.

If you're finding it hard to focus, remember things or make decisions at work, relax, you're not losing the plot. More than likely you are suffering from pandemic-induced brain fatigue which makes it difficult to think straight. Olive Keogh has some advice in World of Work.

And in his Caveat column, Mark Paul explores how not even a pademic could squash our enthusiasm for shopping.

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Ciara Kenny

Ciara Kenny

Ciara Kenny, founding editor of Irish Times Abroad, a section for Irish-connected people around the world, is Editor of the Irish Times Magazine