ESRI to warn of soaring prices as it scraps previous inflation forecasts

Seen and Heard: Dublin facing severe traffic disruption as power cables to be replaced

The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) has abandoned is previous forecasts for inflation and warned that businesses and households face soaring prices as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to the Business Post. It says that ESRI will say that the public finances will come under increasing strain as the State struggles to cope with higher economic costs and the cost of resettling those fleeing Ukraine.

Prices are now expected to increase by between 6 and 7 per cent this year and a further 5 per cent in 2023. The think tank’s previous forecast was for inflation to peak this month before tapering off.

Dublin faces severe traffic disruption

Dublin could be facing traffic disruption of the magnitude seen during the Luas works amid plans to replace and upgrade underground power cables, the Business Post says. There are approximately 10 separate 220kv cables traversing Dublin city, all of which will have to be replaced in the coming years. EirGrid told delegates at a meeting earlier this month. The works will take at least a year to plan, are likely to get under way within the next two years, and could be ongoing for more than a year. PJ Rudden, an engineering consultant, has reportedly been tasked with putting together a consultation group comprising the various public bodies who attended the EirGrid briefing.

Global Shares deal adds up for accountants

Five KPMG partners, past and present, are set to earn a combined €60 million from the sale of Irish fintech Global Shares to JP Morgan, the Sunday Times Irish edition reports. It says the accountants supported the Clonakililty-headquartered company in a series of funding rounds but would probably have invested no more than €2 million in total. JP Morgan has agreed to acquire Global Shares for $750 million.

Warning over Eir’s fibre network stake sale

Eir's sale of a minority stake in its fibre network will weaken the company's business model and "increase the group's complexity, at a time when leverage remains high", according to a report from rating agency Fitch. The Sunday Times, citing the report, says the agency also downgraded its ratings on certain senior secured debt instruments within the group, but affirmed Eir's key corporate family rating, which rates its ability to honour all of its financial obligations.

Construction sector facing crisis

The Sunday Independent says the construction sector is facing a crisis as the price of materials rocket and firms get nervous about taking on fixed-price contracts in an inflationary environment. Several senior construction industry sources told the publication there is growing fear that the receivership of civil-engineering focused Roadbridge last week is a sign of more trouble to come.

Whiskey certification mark abandoned

The Business Post and Sunday Independent report that the Irish Whiskey Association has abandoned an application for a certification mark for the registration of Irish whiskey in the United States. The application was first made in 2018. It sparked a row over who should hold the right to certify the sector's products as legitimate in what is by far the largest market for whiskey.