Credit union saving caps, service sector’s Brexit hit, and 20 years of broadband promises

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

Karlin Lillington on the national broadband debate: “To end up where we are, after two decades, is so exasperating, so misguided, so idiotic, so stupidly aligned to the fact that almost no one in government, from any party, has ever taken this issue seriously or viewed it intelligently.”

Karlin Lillington on the national broadband debate: “To end up where we are, after two decades, is so exasperating, so misguided, so idiotic, so stupidly aligned to the fact that almost no one in government, from any party, has ever taken this issue seriously or viewed it intelligently.”

 

Thousands of credit union members across the State are being asked to withdraw some of their savings, as caps are being applied to deposit accounts. Some are imposing saving limits as low as €15,000. The move is being blamed by credit unions on the costs charged to them by banks to hold that money on deposit, as well as tighter regulatory requirements. Fiona Reddan reports.

Following on from yesterday’s news of “sobering” report on the impact of a no-deal Brexit on cross Border trade, the service sector comes under review. According to new research, the potential disruption to trade in services from Brexit could pose a far greater threat to the UK and EU economies than restrictions around the movement of goods. Eoin Burke-Kennedy explains.

Philip Green’s Arcadia fashion group has secured backing for a controversial restructuring plan after a meeting of creditors voted to approve it. The move clears the way for 23 of its 566 stores across Ireland and UK to close outright, with rents reduced by up to 70 per cent on 194 more.

The Irish economy will inevitably slow down in the medium term but does not appear to be heading for another boom-bust crash, according to the chairman of the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council . In this week’s Business podcast Séamus Coffey tells Ciarán Hancock: “I don’t think the risks of a crash are anywhere comparable to what they were in 2007 or 2008.”

Several of Dublin’s existing pay phones could be turned into “digital pedestals” under plans being considered by Eir and the city council. The new kiosks could include wifi hotspots and digital displays used for public messaging and information on events across the city. Dan Griffin has the details.

In our technology coverage, Ciara O’Brien meets Microsoft’s head of enterprise cyber security, who explains why she is wants everyone to go password-less. She also talks to Gabriel D’Arcy about his transition from a career in the Defence Forces to an Irish virtual reality tech company via Kerry Foods and Bord na Móna.

Olive Keogh reports on an ingenious Irish medtech startup which has developed a device to close wounds quickly but with all the clinical benefits of meticulous sutures, while Fiona Alston interviews the inventor of cybershoes, which promise a giant step forward in gaming.

Finally, Karlin Lillington looks back on over 20 years of reporting on the false dawn of national broadband, with little to show in the way of progress.