No higher taxes, Hostelworld’s investor and Deka buys another building

Business Today: the best news, analysis and comment from The Irish Times business desk

Grafton Street in Dublin this week. New forecasts suggest the Government should not come under pressure to raise taxes significantly or cut back on spending after the Covid storm has passed. Photograph: Collins

Grafton Street in Dublin this week. New forecasts suggest the Government should not come under pressure to raise taxes significantly or cut back on spending after the Covid storm has passed. Photograph: Collins

 

New forecasts suggest the Government should not come under pressure to raise taxes significantly or cut back on spending in the next couple of years, writes Cliff Taylor. He reports that the latest Department of Finance estimates point to the State’s budget being close to balance by the middle of this decade.

Read Cliff’s analysis of the latest numbers here.

A US investor who has built up an almost 13 per cent stake in Hostelworld has said he is not planning to bid for the online hostel booking company. Joe Brennan has the story, noting that the investor crossed notifiable shareholding thresholds in Hostelworld in January and March, unknown to the Irish market.

Joe also reports that Irish Life has agreed to sell a Dublin docklands building occupied by law firm Matheson to the real-estate arm of German asset manager Deka Group. Sources say the deal is attracting a €125 million price tag.

Carbery Group, the Cork-based producer of Dubliner Cheese, reported a 5.8 per cent increase in revenues last year, despite the pandemic. Eoin Burke-Kennedy writes that the dairy group, which is making a big push into the global mozzarella market, benefited from a strong pick-up in retail. Lakeland Dairies on Wednesday posted a similar sales boost for 2020, while Tesco’s Irish business also said sales had been booming amid Covid-19.

Dublin City University is launching a shared scooter scheme that will allow staff, students and companies located on its campuses to get around more easily, reports Charlie Taylor. The electric scooters are being made available as part of a research pilot project intended to monitor how artificial intelligence and computer vision can improve safety for both riders and pedestrians.

The State’s data privacy watchdog has started an inquiry into the circumstances around how personal data linked to about 530 million Facebook users worldwide became available online. Simon Carswell has the details on that, while Ciara O’Brien provides a step-by-step guide for anybody who feels like cutting ties with the social media platform altogether. Be aware: it’s not as easy as you might think it should be.

In her Net Results column, Karlin Lillington considers the ramifications that could flow from the recent, failed union vote at an Amazon fulfilment centre in Alabama. Rather than representing the end of union campaigns across the tech sector, she argues it should be viewed as “the end of a ferociously challenged beginning”.

Olive Keogh looks at two projects that are on track to hit the market after receiving the support of the 12-month Ignite accelerator programme run by UCC. Eric Teahan is developing a sleep mask that blocks out both light and sound while using sophisticated audio to reduce stress and anxiety, while Marion Cantillon has developed a spray-on substance that forms an airtight and watertight cover for silage pits.

Olive also profiles Little Red Edu, an interactive English language tuition platform aimed at children aged three to six who are learning English as a foreign language.

This week’s main tech review from Ciara O’Brien is the Emporia Smart 4, a simple smartphone that rings in at €155. The handset has features such as physical buttons, compatibility with hearing aids and clear menus.

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