Apple’s Tim Cook in Dublin; the government’s budget plans; and a planning amnesty

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

Apple CEO Tim Cook visits Irish developer Hostelworld in Dublin. He said the company was committed to Ireland. “We’ve been here since 1980. We have a very long-term relationship with the country”.

Apple CEO Tim Cook visits Irish developer Hostelworld in Dublin. He said the company was committed to Ireland. “We’ve been here since 1980. We have a very long-term relationship with the country”.

 

Despite Apple pulling the plug on a proposed data centre in Athenry after it got bogged down in legal planning rows, its CEO Tim Cook said Ireland is still in the mix for a future centre next time around. On a visit to Dublin, Mr Cook said the company was committed to Ireland. “We’ve been here since 1980. We have a very long-term relationship with the country,” he told Ciara O’Brien.

That will be welcome news to the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, who yesterday presented his Summer Economic Statement, in which he said he was targeting a budgetary package of €3.4 billion. That leaves €800 million for allocation on budget day. There was mixed reaction from political and business circles, with calls for the Government to focus on health and housing in October’s budget.

The Government’s figures are based on it achieving a headline budget deficit of 0.1 per cent of GDP. Analysing the statement, Cliff Tayloradvises that given the short-term threats to growth, Mr Donohue should be looking to move the government finances in to surplus. “If there is one thing which the Government should achieve when Paschal Donohue announces Budget 2019 it is to stop borrowing.”

Back to the planning rules and regulations and the Law Society is calling for an amnesty on residential properties built outside of planning regulations more than seven years ago, as part of a renewed effort to deliver e-conveyancing for Ireland.

Maximum Media, the digital media group that owns brands including Her.ie and Joe.ie, has struck a major funding deal to finance rapid expansion in the UK. It has secured up to €6 million in funding and will put some of the cash towards the expansion of production facilities in Manchester and London.

All is not well on the British retail scene and in her London Briefing column, Fiona Wals asks what shape will the British high street be in this time next year? “The omens are not looking good, with more gloomy news from the retail sector on Tuesday in the shape of yet another profits warning from Debenhams. ”

In our commercial property coverage, Jack Fagan reports on the sale of 216 apartments at Santry Demesne in Dublin for €80 million, a 19th century former parochial hall in Harold’s Cross on the market for €1.75 million, and the purchase of 274 apartments at the Grange in Stillorgan, Co Dublin for €160 million by Kennedy Wilson Europe.