Covid’s jobs legacy; chance meeting creates €380m company; and Googlers told to come home

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


The Covid-19 pandemic will not hit the economy as hard this year as previously feared, Minister for Finance has said, as exports flourish, but he warned that a jobs crisis in the domestic economy was looming younger workers particularly hard hit by Covid business closures. Pat Leahy has the detail and Cliff Taylor analyses the figures.

Lobbying was a key function in the initial written job spec for a new chief executive at the Irish Association of Investment Managers when it was first advertised earlier this year, write Joe Brennan and Jack Horgan-Jones. No-one was selected from that process. Former junior finance minister Michael D’Arcy and the IAIM have said neither he nor the organisation will lobby Government for the first year of his contract.

Building public housing should be a priority for the Government in the construction sector slowdown caused by Covid, the ESRI has said. It warns that a double whammy of people unable to purchase or rent and a cash-strapped industry unable to meet demand as the economy recovers could create further pain in the housing sector. Mark Paul reports.

A chance meeting at a medical conference led two scientists to create a Irish drug development company, Inflazome, which has been sold eight years later for at least €380 million – and potentially a multiple of that. Co-founder and CEO Matt Cooper spoke to Dominic Coyle about how he and Luke O’Neill turned an idea into a potential treatment for a host of diseases, including arthritis, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Ibec, the business group, has warned that the recent European court ruling on the transfer of data from Europe to the US that invalidates the Privacy Shield agreement, will have a “significant negative impact on the Irish economy”, writes Charlie Taylor.

Workers are leaving “free money on the table” by failing to sign up for workplace pensions, according to a new report from Aon, which also shows that most pension schemes are not ready for the looming requirement to automatically enrol all worker sin pensions. Barry O’Halloran reports.

As the budget looms and healthcare budgets face a further squeeze in the ongoing Covid pandemic, a report from industry group Medicines for Ireland says the HSE could save ¤200 million a year by using more generics and biosimilars for medicines that no longer have patent protection.

Fast-food group Subway has lost an appeal to the Supreme Court over Revenue’s refusal to zero rate its bread for VAT purposes. Bread is zero rated as an essential “staple” food but the amount of sugar in Subway’s sandwich bread was five times the amount stipulated for bread in law.

Over 2,000 workers at Google’s Irish operations have been told to return here from the home countries to which they returned during the Covid shutdown. The move is understood to be for tax and legal reasons as the workers are not expected to return to their physical offices for months yet.

And in his column, Eoin Burke-Kennedy asks whether ever stricter rules really can keep the lid on Covid. One thing for sure, he argues, the cycles of lockdown will toll the death knell for a host of small but otherwise viable bar and restaurant businesses.

Fugitive businessman Carlos Ghosn has made a rare public appearance in Lebanon to promote his new university course in executive management.

In Commercial Property, a block on Dublin’s Harcourt Street is up for sale at €21 million. Fully-let to the OPW, it should be a pandemic-proof investment, writes Ronald Quinlan.

And in Stillorgan, 25 apartments at Beechwood Court are on the market for €9.7 million. At an average price of €388,000, that’s €43,574 less per unit than listed landlord Ires Reit paid when it acquired 101 apartments at the scheme last year.

Stay up to date with all our business news: sign up to our business news alerts and our Business Today daily email news digest.