Budget surplus, bankers’ pay and a predicted property investment boom

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

There’s a sense of 2007 about the news today, amid reports of a near-record corporation tax take, renewed pressure to pay more to bankers, and a report that Dublin is tipped as a key real estate investment performer for next year.

The Government is on course to run a budget surplus this year for the first time in over a decade following a near record €2.7 billion corporation tax take in November. The windfall is likely to increase the clamour for full pay restoration across the public sector. However, in a presentation to be given to the Dáil's Budgetary Oversight committee today, the chairman of the independent budget watchdog, the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council, will renew his warnings about overheating in the economy and overspending by the Government, especially in the area of health.

The chief executives of AIB and Permanent TSB are among thelowest-paid compared with their European peers, according to an analysis of remuneration among 20 banks of similar size by The Irish Times. Our analysis examines the salaries and total remuneration paid to chief executives of 20 leading banks across Europe, which would be considered peers of AIB, Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB based on the level of assets held on their balance sheets (ranging from €22 billion to €144 billion).

Companies linked to the food/drink and hospitality industries were prominent among those who made the largest settlements in the latest list of tax defaulters, published on Tuesday by the Revenue Commissioners. The list to the end of September provides details of 65 taxpayers who have made settlements with the Revenue totalling almost €13 million. These include Roscommon County Council, which made a settlement of €456,000 for the undeclaration of VAT.


Regulators are investigating more than 2,000 Irish investment funds to ensure they are not misleading customers about charges and other issues. The Central Bank is mainly concerned with "closet indexing", where the fund managers falsely claim they invest the money actively to get better returns than those offered by stock exchanges, but actually take a more passive approach that results in returns matching those markets.

In her column this week Fiona Reddan argues that credit unions need to step up to the challenge of a growing number of moneylenders regulate in Ireland who offer short-erm loans at sky-high rates.

Dublin ranked in third place out of 31 European cities for real estate investment despite questions surrounding oversupply picking up in the office market, a report shows. Lisbon, Berlin and Dublin are considered the best bets in Europe for real estate investment and development next year based on fundamentals in the market and rental growth prospects.

In commercial property, Justin Comiskey looks back on a year when Dublin's monster property deals were dominated by tech giants Facebook and Google, while seven experts offer their views on the year ahead in the property game.

Michael McAleer

Michael McAleer

Michael McAleer is Motoring Editor, Innovation Editor and an Assistant Business Editor at The Irish Times