Surging corporation tax take, pay rises, and retailers seeking to counter online threat

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

As the nation continues to bask in the sunshine, another surge in corporation tax receipts in the first-half of 2018 has put the Government on course to exceed its budgetary targets this year.

However, there may be clouds on the horizon. While the stronger-than-expected performance, detailed in the latest exchequer returns, is expected to increase the clamour for tax cuts in the budget, it has renewed concern about the Government's increasing reliance on the business tax, which now accounts for 16 per cent of the State's total tax take. In addition, worries about overspending in health budgets are escalating in Government with yesterday's figures showing health spending is €167 million above its projected level.

In his column, Cliff Taylor outlines why, for all the positives to be taken from the latest raft of economic data, the awkward bit politically for the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe is that expectations are rising with the recovering economy – and delivery of real improvements is tricky and takes time.

Ongoing industrial strife at Ryanair threatens to disrupt thousands of Irish passengers and could spread to some of the airline's other European bases. Irish-based Ryanair pilots plan a one-day strike on Thursday July 12th in a dispute over seniority, a move potentially hitting thousands of holidaymakers at the Republic's airports. According to German pilots' union VC, its members in Ryanair are voting on a possible strike in a ballot that will run to the end of July, following what it called the failure of talks on improved pay and conditions.


Thousands of Irish workers are in line for a pay rise following a decision to increase the so-called living wage, which is paid voluntarily by certain employers. The non-statutory pay rate, which is set by the Living Wage technical group, has been increased by 20 cent to €11.90 an hour to reflect the rising cost of rental accomodation in Dublin and other urban areas. The move will boost wages at companies such as Aldi, Lidl and Ikea, which have signed up to the campaign.

The largest retail organisation in the Republic has called on the Government to protect businesses from an influx of "cheap, non-European imports" due to the rise of online shopping. Retail Excellence, in its pre-budget submission, has called for "targeted solutions" for retailers in October's budget, including additional online supports and "tax fairness measures".

The Republic's top construction companies increased their combined turnover by 12 per cent in the last year, despite a slow recovery rate in the residential housing market.

In commercial property, Jack Fagan reports on how the head office of holiday firm Trailfinders on Dawson St, Dublin has been sold for ¤12.4 million, 60 per cent over the guide price. Meanwhile, banker Credit Suisse is set to buy Century House in Dublin's IFSC for an estimated ¤66 million.

On this week's Inside Business podcast, Barry O'Halloran explains the background to the upcoming Ryanair pilots strike, while economist Jim Power joins Ciaran Hancock, Cliff Taylor and Eoin Burke-Kennedy to discuss the rude health of the Irish economy and what needs to be prioritised in October's budget.

Finally, the deadline for The Irish Times Innovation Awards has been extended until this Friday, July 6th at 5pm. If you have an innovative service or product that deserves greater recognition and reward make sure you enter before the deadline.

Michael McAleer

Michael McAleer

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