Expansion of mortgage-to-rent scheme for troubled borrowers

Seen & Heard: accidental landlords, solar farm, Carton House and Garda cultural audit

Solar energy company Lightsource is planning a €60 million solar farm in Dunboyne, Co Meath. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty

Solar energy company Lightsource is planning a €60 million solar farm in Dunboyne, Co Meath. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty


The European Union’s statistics agency, Eurostat, has cleared the way for the Government to expand its mortgage-to-rent scheme for troubled borrowers entitled to social housing, according to the Sunday Business Post.

There had been a fear that Eurostat would deem the plan to be on the balance sheet of the State. The State is likely to go ahead with a pilot scheme next month, with several bodies including Icare Housing, Merrion Capital, Beacon Capital and Arizun having signalled an interest in becoming involved.

Accidental landlords

The Post also reports the Government is drawing up plans to ease the burden on Ireland’s accidental landlords, according to the Sunday Business Post. Measures under consideration include giving tax relief to loss-making accidental landlords, allowing them to write off local property tax bills against other tax bills and restoration of the previously announced return of 100 per cent mortgage interest relief. The measures are included as part of the Government’s response to the housing crisis.

Solar farm

Solar energy company Lightsource is planning a €60 million solar farm in Dunboyne, Co Meath , the Sunday Independent reports. The 129-hectare site would be the second-largest solar farm in the county after the 150-hectare Highfield Solar project approved last year by councillors, though that has since been appealed to An Bord Pleanála. The paper reports the industry is lobbying for support from subsidies such as those applying to wind energy projects.

Bidding for Carton House

The Sunday Business Post reports that US cable billionaire John Malone and the Guinness family are among parties considering making bids for the Carton House hotel and golf resort in Co Kildare.

Mr Malone’s Irish hotel consortium with John Lally’s Lalco owns hotels including the Westin and Intercontinental in Dublin and Glenlo Abbey in Co Galway. Several Chinese investors have also sought access to financial information on the resort, according to the report.

Suir Engineering takeover

The Sunday Times also reports that Suir Engineering, a Waterford business that employs 600 people, has been bought by international group EDF Energy Services. The business was acquired as part of EDF Energy Services’ purchase of Imtech UK and Ireland from Endless, a UK private equity firm that backed a management buyout at Suir two years ago, it said.

Intellectual property transfer

Tech giants are likely to claim billions of euro in tax breaks by transferring intellectual property assets to Ireland over the coming years, the Sunday Times reports. Citing figures in the Department of Finance’s tax strategy group papers, they write that the “onshoring” of IP allows companies claim capital allowances for intangible assets – a heading that has seen rapid increase in the past couple of years, it says. The paper notes that the Irish operations of industry giants such as Apple, Google , Facebook and the large pharma companies all hold significant IP assets.

Garda culture audit

PricewaterhouseCoopers has won a €500,000 contract to carry out a “cultural audit” of An Garda Síochána, the Sunday Business Post writes. The audit, proposed by the Policing Authority, aims to address issues of openness, accountability, trust, innovation and transparency. PwC was chosen from 12 tenders ranging in cost from €86,000 to €814,000, it says.

Indebted borrowers

Legal actions against indebted borrowers by US investment funds have risen dramatically this year, the Sunday Times reports. It writes that subsidiary funds of Goldman Sachs, Cerberus and CarVal have taken more than 370 court actions already this year. That compares to about 160 in 2016. The three funds were among the most active purchasers of Irish loans following the financial crash.

Champion bankrupt

The founder of Champion Sports, Paul McGlade, has been adjudged bankrupt over debts to the Revenue of more than €4.5 million, the Sunday Times reports. Mr McGlade was also a founder of Therapie Clinics, a business now controlled by his son, Philip.