Fast-track housing scheme to be reviewed as developers stall on construction

Seen & heard: bailed-out banks’ tax savings; Aer Lingus profit-share; Bus Éireann’s Broadstone future


The Government is set to review the fast-track housing scheme that allows developers to bypass local authorities and go directly to An Bord Pleanála, The Sunday Business Post has reported.

Permission for some 15,000 houses and apartments have been approved through it, but the newspaper has learned that no construction has commenced on two thirds of the units for which developers were granted fast-track permission.

Banks cut tax bills

Irish banks shaved €400 million from their tax bills in 2017 by offsetting some of the huge losses from the financial crisis against taxable profits, the Sunday Times reported, citing Revenue figures.

The losses, which triggered a €64 billion taxpayer bailout of the sector, can be carried forward indefinitely to shield banks’ future profits from tax.

Most of the losses being offset against profits are believed to belong to the bailed-out domestic banks.

Aer Lingus profit share vote

Siptu is to recommend that Aer Lingus staff vote to reject a deal on a profit-share scheme that the trade union hammered out with management after months of negotiations, reported the Sunday Independent.

A trade union memo seen by the newspaper said that “following much discussion” it had been decided to recommend that Siptu members reject a Labour Court proposal in a ballot to be held over 10 days next month.

FF backs household charge

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has backed the long-floated idea of a new household charge to replace the television licence fee, according to the Sunday Business Post, citing an interview given by Martin on TG4’s 7 Lá current affairs show.

“In Fianna Fáil, we are in favour of this new charge,” he said, as Gaeilge. The party’s communications spokesman Timmy Dooley has said his party would want to bring in the charge as soon as possible if it returned to government.

Abtran sale

Carlyle Cardinal Ireland (CCI) is in talks to sell a majority stake in Abtran, the Cork-based outsourcing company, back to some of the company’s original owners, reports The Sunday Independent.

The private equity fund bought the stake in 2015 in what was one of its largest investments but the newspaper now understands that CCI is negotiating a sale to members of the Fitzgerald family, including executive chairman Michael Fitzgerald.

Broadstone bus depot study

Bus Éireann is hiring consultants to prepare a feasibility study on moving out of its Broadstone bus depot in Dublin, a proposal that could free up the 26-acre site for sale, according to The Sunday Times.

The company has issued a request for tender to research whether a proposed move from Broadstone is feasible. The study will include an examination of other potential sites in the greater Dublin area. The bus depot, near Phibsboro, is shared between Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus.