Facebook’s Irish tax move, ESRI on Brexit impact on Irish economy and Ryanair’s strike

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


Facebook has announced that it will no longer book non-US revenues from large advertisers through its Dublin unit.

When fully implemented, the decision is likely to result in a huge slice of the international income routed through Ireland - €12.6 billion in 2016 - being diverted elsewhere. Facebook’s Irish tax bill - €29.5 million last year - is also likely to significantly shrink.

Assessing the wider economic implications of the move, Cliff Taylor warns that when a big company like Facebook can decide where it pays its tax, a small country like Ireland needs to sit up and take notice. “The importance of the Facebook move is the signal it sends about the direction which one of the world’s biggest players believes the wind is blowing.”

Brexit continues to pose a serious risk to the Irish economy despite last week’s apparent deal on the Irish Border, the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and the Central Bank have warned in separate reports. In its latest quarterly commentary published this morning, the ESRI highlighted the increasingly uncertain outlook for the UK economy as the chief downside risk to growth here. Eoin Burke-Kennedy has the details.

Ryanair passengers face possible disruption next week in what could be the first of a series of pilot strikes over representation rights in the Republic and other European countries.

Trade union Impact said that Irish-based directly-employed pilots, most of them captains, would withdraw their labour on Wednesday, December 20th in an action that the union claimed could disrupt flights and cost Ryanair substantial amounts of money. The airline said that it would deal with “any such disruptions if, or when they arise”.

The former chief executive of Irish Nationwide Building Society, Michael Fingleton, has claimed the Central Bank was out to get him before proceeding two years ago with an inquiry into the failed lender. Addressing the inquiry yesterday, he also said that his former staff were offered immunity to “dish the dirt” on him.

Motor insurance policyholders in Ireland could be left personally liable for a portion of any claim against them if they have an accident and their insurer goes bust. Peter Hamilton reports on how this disturbing situation has come to light on the back of the liquidation process over the collapse of Setanta Insurance.

Controversial German telco Yourtel, which was fined this week for selling bogus contracts for cheaper landline calls to hundreds of older rural customers in Ireland, is facing further criminal prosecutions from telecoms watchdog ComReg, The Irish Times has learned.

Fiona Walsh reports from London on how the stiff upper lip adopted in the face of Brexit-inspired price rises is starting to tremble upon news of the financial hit from the unexpected closure of a major North Sea pipeline, supplying 40 per cent of the UK’s oil and gas.

In commercial property, Jack Fagan reports on how Irish life is set to strengthen its position as the largest owner of buildings on Grafton St with the purchase of its 19th building on the popular retail location.