Exchequer faces €13bn hole as population ages – Finance

Seen & heard: Dermot Desmond’s Canouan plan; consumers wary on green cost; and Siptu’s 16% airport wage claim

Ageing population

The Department of Finance has warned of a potential €13 billion hole in the public finances by 2030, according to a submission by it to the Commission on Taxation and Welfare. The Business Post reports that finance mandarins have warned that issues such as the support of an ageing population and health service needs may add €7 billion to annual costs, while up to €6 billion in taxes may also be lost, due to shifts away from fossil fuels and also decreases in corporation tax.

Desmond’s Caribbean plan

The Business Post also reports on an interview given by billionaire Dermot Desmond to the Robb Report, a luxury lifestyle magazine aimed at the wealthy international set. The interview, about Desmond's development of leisure facilities on the Caribbean island of Canouan, quotes the businessman as suggesting that "people are going to thank" him for his development there, which includes marina facilities, refurbishing the golf course and a new hotel and airport runway. Desmond is said to have suggested it may be his last major such development.

Reluctant greens

Barely more than one-third of Irish consumers surveyed by Red C are willing to pay more for sustainably produced food. Yet two-thirds still claim to believe that sustainable food is important, according to the survey carried out for KPMG and reported by the Business Post. The survey also suggests that one-third of people are reducing the amount of meat and dairy they consume.

Airport woes

The Sunday Independent reports that the trade union Siptu has lodged a pay claim for a near 16 per cent rise for workers at beleaguered Dublin Airport, which is at the centre of a crisis over security queues that have caused many passengers to miss flights in recent weeks. Siptu is seeking the pay rise to be spread over three years and backdated to May 2020. Meanwhile, the head of operations at Cork Airport has urged security staff there to travel to Dublin to help out "in a time of crisis".

Starling to land

UK digital challenger bank, Starling, is edging closer to its long-mooted Irish launch, according to the Sunday Independent. It says the bank has recently started hiring for Irish-based executives. The bank began the process to seek a licence to operate in the European Union in 2019. It has already set up an Irish-based subsidiary. Starling was founded by former AIB director, Anne Boden.

Slow Irish Water

The Sunday Times reports that the utilities regulator believes Irish Water is well behind on its five-year targets. Irish Water is due to spend €5.2 billion on infrastructure by 2024 but the paper suggests the regulator’s view is “likely to raise concern about the company’s ability to complete the job”.

Dunnes in Waterford

The Sunday Times also reports that Dunnes Stores has bought a shopping centre near Waterford city that was built for €100 million but has lain empty since 2007. The development loans on the shopping centre in Ferrybank just over the Kilkenny border were taken over by Nama, which will benefit from the sale. Dunnes was previously involved in legal disputes over the unopened shopping centre, where it was to be an anchor tenant.