Goldman Sachs advises on Ulster Bank’s future, health insurance premiums to rise, and 200 new jobs for Microsoft

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

NatWest is being advised by Goldman Sachs on the future of Ulster Bank in the Republic, as the UK lender looks at winding down the unit which shows no signs of making enough money to cover its own funding costs in the foreseeable future. Joe Brennan reports.

Has your health insurance premium gone up this year? You could be facing another increase in 2021, with prices set to rise by between 5 and 7 per cent, according to benefits consultants Willis Towers Watson. Dominic Coyle has more details.

Microsoft is announcing the creation of 200 engineering jobs in Dublin this morning, expanding its existing 600-strong team and opening a €27 million engineering hub at its Leopardstown campus, reports Ciara O'Brien. The new jobs will bring the total number employed by Microsoft in Ireland to more than 2,700.

More than 470 hospitality and events businesses have signed an open letter to Taoiseach Micheal Martin, calling for a reopening of the economy next month. They claim many businesses in the "experience sector" are in need of a "final lifeline" to save them from permanent closure, writes Joe Brennan.


Creditors took or threatened legal action against two Norwegian Air Shuttle's Irish subsidiaries before those companies got court protection last week. Barry O'Halloran has the story.

Ireland's top 20 Iseq companies have the highest ratio of female chief executives among stock indices globally, at 15 per cent, according to a new report. The ratio is triple the 5 per cent global average, writes Joe Brennan.

Are we on the cusp of an economic boom? Chris Johns things so, or hopes so at least. As people emerge from lockdowns, they will want to spend all the money they saved, but if this doesn't happen, we're in big trouble, he writes.

With so many of us working from home these days, being polite over email is more important than ever, so think twice before clicking send, writes Pilita Clark in her column today.

In opinion, former chief executive of the National Treasury Management Agency Michael Somers is writing about how the Government's lack of vision means future generations will have to pay the pensions bill.

Two Irish companies' space technology expertise are set to be used to help in fight against Covid-19. Dublin-based space software company Skytek has won a contract from the European Space Agency to provide a satellite-enabled platform to link into Ireland's Computerised Infectious Disease Reporting (CIDR) system to generate alerts when numbers of suspected cases spike, while Cork-based PMD Solutions, in partnership with Beaumont Hospital, have also won an ESA contract for a space-enabled wearable device to monitor respiratory compromised patients in the community. Joe Brennan reports.

Ciara Kenny

Ciara Kenny

Ciara Kenny, founding editor of Irish Times Abroad, a section for Irish-connected people around the world, is Editor of the Irish Times Magazine