All farmers to be told to plant crops amid fears of food security crisis

Seen and heard: Looming food shortages, regulator warns of cyber risks, law firms pull out of Russia

All Irish farmers will be asked to plant some of their land in wheat, barley and other grains, as part of emergency plans being drawn up by the Government to offset a predicted food security crisis in Europe amid Russia's ongoing assault on Ukraine, according to a report in the Business Post.

It comes as the EU plans to introduce emergency measures to slash its energy dependence on Russia by rebuilding its reserve stocks of gas and oil, while also turning to alternative sources of energy commodities in other parts of the world.

The Government, meanwhile, plans to bring in a “swing mechanism” for excise duty on fuel that means it would fluctuate in value depending on when oil prices go up or down in a bid to keep prices somewhat stable at the pumps.

Central Bank warns financial sector over increased cyber-security risks

The Central Bank has written to banks and financial firms it regulates outlining the need to be aware of a "significantly" increased risk from cybersecurity threats in the current geopolitical situation amid Russia's war with Ukraine, according to a report in the Sunday Independent. The warning to banks and businesses in financial services comes amid heightened tensions between western countries and Russia. Recently, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) warned companies and institutions to expect "increased cyber-criminal activity" from criminal gangs.


Airbnb rentals soar in Kyiv as alternative act of charity

Irish people are booking properties in Ukraine on Airbnb as they look beyond charities for ways to directly support those living under Russian attack, a report in the Sunday Times said. Cathal Ó Gallchobhair, a paramedic from Donegal, said he had been involved in local collections of nappies, socks, gloves and hats to be sent to the Ukrainian border for refugees, but wanted to do more.

Banks still haven’t agreed legals on affordable housing

Homebuyers are already running into hurdles with a key new Government housing scheme, the Sunday Independent has learned. Under the Affordable Purchase Scheme, the local authority takes a percentage equity stake in the home.

Irish law firms to cease acting for Russian clients

A raft of Irish corporate law firms have distanced themselves from Russian clients as Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine continued over the last week, a report in the Business Post suggests. It comes after the Central Bank identified close to €50 billion worth of financial assets held in Ireland that are linked to Russian entities, the vast majority of which is debt finance raised through special purpose vehicles (SPVs) and used by Russian banks and corporates.

In response to detailed questions from the Business Post, almost all of the large corporate law firms in Dublin said they would immediately terminate all instructions linked to Russian entities and would also decline any new business from Russian firms.

Arthur Cox, which acts for more than 60 Russian firms, said it had "ceased all Russia-related work" and will decline any new instructions from entities in the country.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times