Paradise papers, Brexit preparations and the rising cost of rent subsidies

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


A trove of 13.4 million records exposes ties between Russia and US President Donald Trump’s billionaire commerce secretary, the secret dealings of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s chief fundraiser and the offshore interests of the queen of England and more than 120 politicians around the world.

The files contain information on the affairs of AIB’s offshore operation, some of Ireland’s wealthiest businessmen and most prominent businesses, celebritiesfrom the arts world, and even an Irish priest who played a role in offshore holding companies linked to valuable assets. The data also contains new information on the role played by Ireland in structures that allow some of the world’s most profitable corporations significantly reduce their tax bills. Reports on these issues will be published by The Irish Times over the coming week.

With less than two years to go to Brexit, an overwhelming 95 per cent of businesses in Ireland are still not actively planning for the event, according to cross-Border development agency InterTrade Ireland. It comes amid concerns about preparations in the insurance sector for Britain’s exit as well.

As the housing crisis continues to mount, new projections show the Government will spend in excess of €3 billion on rent subsidies over the next five years. Eoin Burke-Kennedy reports on the rising cost of rent subsidies, which opponents warn ultimately go to private landlords and fuel rent rises.

Consulting firm EY, which now employs almost 2,400 people in Ireland, expects headcount to continue to grow after reporting double-digit income growth for the fourth consecutive year.

With over 60,000 techies expected to converge in Lisbon for the Web Summit this week, Charlie Taylor reports from the event on the likely highlights.

Finally, in his column this week, Chris Johns assesses whether populism can be countered by the global economic recovery, while Pilita Clark looks at the growing trend for firms to offer employees unlimited holidays, and why it’s hard to think of another work perk that promises so much and delivers so little - to workers.