May reveals Trump’s Brexit advice: ‘Sue the EU’

Seen & Heard: Solving Ireland’s pension problem, data privacy and the housing crisis

Britain’s prime minister Theresa May on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “I am not going to Brussels to compromise our national interest.” Photograph: BBC handout via Reuters

Britain’s prime minister Theresa May on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “I am not going to Brussels to compromise our national interest.” Photograph: BBC handout via Reuters


British prime minister Theresa May said US president Donald Trump had previously advised her to sue the European Union as part of her Brexit strategy, disclosing a piece of advice Trump said last week she had ignored.

“He told me I should sue the EU,” May told BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show. “Sue the EU. Not go into negotiations – sue them.”

In an article in the Mail on Sunday, May defended her Brexit White Paper plan as the only viable option, and called on voters and politicians to get behind it or “risk ending up with no Brexit at all”.

“I am not going to Brussels to compromise our national interest.”

She warned parliamentarians seeking to scuttle the plan – and also those trying to force amendments to strengthen post-Brexit EU ties – that they risk causing “a damaging and disorderly Brexit” and the possibility of the UK crashing out of the EU with no Brexit deal.

Government to move oil reserves

The Government is planning to move 200,000 tonnes of its oil reserves from Britain as part of its Brexit preparations and will sign off on the move this week, the Sunday Independent reports. Ministers will sign off on the decision to move the oil, which includes refined products, at a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the newspaper quoted an unnamed senior government source as saying.

Merging USC and PRSI

The plan to merge the Universal Social Charge (USC) and PRSI could be used to offset the growing risk posed by the pension timebomb, according to a report in the Sunday Independent. It quotes senior Government sources as saying a significant amount of the €4 billion raised annually from USC could be combined with PRSI to fill the hole in the State’s pension fund. However, the paper says the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, is believed to be concerned about the impact such a move would have on funding for public service.

British watchdog concerned about Facebook ads

Britain’s data protection watchdog is to ask its Irish counterpart to increase its policing of the “deeply concerning” way Facebook targets ads at its users. Quoting a report last week, the Sunday Business Post says the British Information Commissioner’s Office said “significant privacy risks” arise from how Facebook allows advertisers to target its users.

It comes as Ireland looks set to play a central role in policing material on YouTube under an updated EU directive on broadcasting, according to the Sunday Independent. YouTube’s parent Google has its main European operations in Dublin, so the role of enforcing the new Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AMVS) – likely to come into effect in 2020 – will fall on Irish authorities such as the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.

Central Bank accused of ‘redesigning’ Ireland

Property developer Greg Kavanagh has written to the governor of the Central Bank accusing it of “redesigning Irish society” to turn it from a country of homeowners into a nation of renters. The Sunday Business Post reports that Kavanagh warns that Ireland will never deliver 30,000 housing units a year ever again and that even to do so would require €7.5 billion per annum and €30 billino over four years. He said Ireland had nowhere near this amount of liquidity available. The paper also reports that the Department of Housing edited a Housing Agency report to downplay recommendations that the State should set plans for housebuilding through local and regional authorities rather than leaving it to private builders.

Durkan to head up Lone Star’s new housebuilder

US investment fund Lone Star is working on plans to float a housebuilder on the Dublin and London stock markets, according to the Sunday Times. The new company will be headed by builder Patrick Durkan. The paper says the investment fund is likely to sell its two development sites in Dublin – at Portmarnock and Adamstown – to the new vehicle in return for a sizeable stake in the company. It is understood the project team undertook a roadshow for investors in London and New York within the past two weeks to gauge interest.

Bank mergers on the horizon, says McDonagh

Bank of Ireland chief executive Francesca McDonagh has tacitly acknowledged the bank may not have an independent future, predicting a wave of mergers and acquisitions in the European banking sector, reports the Sunday Times. It reports her comments at a conference in Brussels in May where she referred to “the likelihood of consolidation, particularly in the squeezed middle . . . where they need scale to achieve cost reductions and efficiency to generate higher returns.” However, the bank has said consolidation is not part of the strategy outlined at an investor day last month.