Energy groups snub bank switch hearing; rent control woes; and Wall St takes a hammering

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

Energy companies have been accused of snubbing Oireachtas hearings looking at how best hundreds of thousands of bank customers can move their direct debits painlessly to new banks as Ulster Bank and KBC exit the Irish market. Joe Brennan reports that committee chairman John McGuinness has given some of the State's largest utilities a public dressing down.

Rent control doesn't work, a report compiled by Jim Power for the property industry has found. The report argues that the system has served to drive small landlords out of the sector while incentivising new stock to come to market at what it turns out are prices that only exacerbate the housing crisis. Eoin Burke-Kennedy reports.

Former billionaire businessman Sean Quinn has been injuncted from trespassing at a quarry on land owned by the company he built. The High Court hear that the company is not sure why he is trespassing but believes his actions amount to "a misguided form of aggression in the form of defiance" aimed towards the company's management.

Markets in the United States suffered another meltdown last night, falling around 4 per cent for the second time in two weeks on the back of fears about interest rates and some weak earnings reports.

The Davy-16 – a group of former employees of J&E Davy stockbrokers – made a profit of some €9 million from the onward sale of bonds that staff at the brokerage sold to themselves in 2014 on behalf of businessman Patrick Kearney, their counsel has told the High Court. Mr Kearney's side has suggested the profit was closer to €25 million.

Dublin Airport is seeking a passenger charge increase to €14.58 in 2026 – a 71.5 per cent increase from the current level of €8.50 – to support plans for €2.5 billion in investment to prepare the airport for the next decade, arguing that Covid-19 has completely changed the financial assumptions on which the current charges are based. Barry O'Halloran reports.

Center Parcs Longford holiday village says bookings have recovered this year after the pandemic cut its annual revenues by more than two-thirds and drove its finances deep into the red. Mark Paul has the details.

Chris Horn writes that moves by Russian hackers to cripple Ukrainian internet connections just hours ahead of the February invasion highlight the vulnerability of a aging satellites to such a threat.

Former solicitor Michael Lynn has told his multimillion-euro theft trial he did not steal "a penny". And, under cross-examination, he insisted there was no scheme designed to defraud the banks.

A reduction in absenteeism and improved productivity is convincing employers of the merits of hybrid and flexible working, according to HR industry group, CIPD, which, writes Laura Slattery, says the pandemic looks set to have a lasting impact on Irish workplaces.

Excessive wage demands triggered by the current high level of inflation could lead Ireland into a wage-price spiral, the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) has warned, adding that high inflation could force the closure of otherwise viable businesses. Eoin Burke-Kennedy has the details

The World Economic Forum's 2022 gathering in Davos next week will be "the most timely and consequential" in its 52-year history, its founder, Klaus Schwab, said, with issues of war, epidemics and climate and global food crises need to be addressed by delegates. Joe Brennan reports.

The European Commission has unveiled details of its €210 billion plan to wean the EU off Russian fossil fuels by 2027, coinciding with a move to quicken its transition to green energy and focus more on saving energy, writes Kevin O'Sullivan.

Hiring in Ireland will be "record-breaking" in the third quarter of 2022, according to an employment outlook survey by ManpowerGroup, with half of banking and finance employers planning to expand headcount, and Dublin companies particularly bullish, writes Laura Slattery.

In Net Results, Karlin Lillington remembers the revelatory moment that was the arrival of the iPod, introduced by a still enfeebled Apple. And, as the tech giant phases it out, she struggles to let go of the first tech gadgets she truly loved.

And Ciara O'Brien looks at the success of serial tech entrepreneur Pat Phelan's in his latest pivot into the world of non-invasive aesthetic/beauty treatments.

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