Covid bounce returns RTÉ to profit for first time in three years

Seen and Heard: construction lockdown slammed, Davy review to look at deals before Anglo

‘Late Late Show’ presenter Ryan Tubridy. Photograph: Frank Miller /The Irish Times

‘Late Late Show’ presenter Ryan Tubridy. Photograph: Frank Miller /The Irish Times

 

RTÉ’s finances received a huge Covid-related bounce in 2020, with the station returning to profit for the first time in three years, according to a report in the Sunday Times.

At a town-hall meeting organised by trade unions at Montrose on Thursday, staff were told that the broadcaster was on course to record a net profit of €5 million for last year. The calculation was made by Eugene McMahon, an independent financial adviser, who examined RTÉ’s books in December at the request of unions which have been in talks with management about a €60 million cost-cutting strategy including pay cuts. The profit has arisen because RTÉ’s costs fell more than its revenues in 2020.

Investors slam State lockdown of construction work

Pressure is mounting on Irish construction firms from international backers and financiers over stalled projects because of the continued shutdown of the sector, the Sunday Independent writes.

London-based Valorem Investment Partners warned Irish contractor Mac Group that the inactivity on its major 120,000sq foot mixed use development site at Newmarket Square in Dublin 8 was having a “massively detrimental effect” on the project. The warning came in a letter seen by the Sunday Independent and is just one example of what an industry source described as an “incredulous” reaction from international clients to Ireland’s construction lockdown.

Review of Davy can investigate staff trades prior to Anglo bond deal

The external team reviewing staff trading at Davy Stockbrokers since 2014 will be free to investigate earlier trades if they uncover issues which cause concern, the Sunday Business Post reports. The embattled stockbroker announced the appointment last week of Alvarez & Marsal to conduct a “forensic assessment” of relevant staff trading from 2014 to 2021, but it is understood that activity before this will also be covered if deemed necessary. The review is designed to give clarity to potential buyers of Davy. The seven-year timeframe was selected with that in mind, as the firm has fallen into crisis since the Central Bank fined it €4.13 million for breaching market rules relating to the 2014 trade of an Anglo bond.

Vaccinations for flying

The boss of Australian airline Qantas says “governments are going to insist” on vaccines for international travellers, the BBC reports. Chief executive Alan Joyce said many governments were talking about vaccination as “a condition of entry” and said that even if they weren’t, he thought Qantas should enforce it’s own policy and said passengers would be willing to accept the change. The World Health Organisation however told the BBC: “We don’t approve the fact that a vaccinations passport should be a condition for travel.” It said, regardless of what the private sector wanted, a unified approach from governments would be needed to make such a change work.

IPHA warns against blocking exports of vaccines from EU

Blocking exports of vaccines from the EU could have a negative impact on the movement of raw materials required to make them, the body representing some of the biggest names in the Irish pharma sector has warned, a report in the Sunday Business Post states.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said last week that exports of EU vaccines to other countries would depend on the willingness of those nations to allow vaccines manufactured in their territories to enter the EU. Anger has been growing across member states that plants in the EU have exported 41 million vaccines to 33 countries in the last six weeks, with almost no vaccines travelling in the opposite direction.

The Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA), which represents such major companies as Pfizer, Janssen and Sanofi, told the Business Post it was concerned that any move to block exports could have knock-on consequences for the movement of raw materials.

“The global vaccine supply chain is heavily interdependent. Vaccines-makers depend on ingredients that come from all over the world,” Bernard Mallee, the IPHA’s director of communications and advocacy, said.

Confidence plunges amid pause on AstraZeneca vaccine

More than a third of people said last week that concern about side-effects was the main reason why they would not accept a Covid-19 vaccine, following the decision to suspend the delivery of the AstraZeneca jab, the Sunday Times reports. A poll for the Department of Health taken by Amarach Research on Monday found that 52 per cent of people surveyed said they would not hesitate to get the vaccine, down from 61 per cent two weeks earlier. Thirty-four per cent said they were “worried about the side-effects”, up from 25 per cent a fortnight before.