PTSB ready for fines; Roadstone inspections; and EU criticism of housing policy

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

The High Court has ordered Roadstone to allow inspection of three Dublin quarries in the hunt for the source of pyrite that has damaged new homes. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The High Court has ordered Roadstone to allow inspection of three Dublin quarries in the hunt for the source of pyrite that has damaged new homes. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Permanent TSB will “quite rightly” be fined for its role in the State’s tracker-mortgage scandal, chief executive, Jeremy Masding, said, as it revealed that €91 million of exceptional charges in 2018 that pushed down its profit for the year. Joe Brennan has the details.

Construction industry giant Roadstone has been ordered by the High Court to allow inspections of three of its quarries in Dublin in the ongoing search for evidence on the source of material which caused pyrite damage to new homes. Mary Carolan was in court.

Sticking with housing, the Government’s policy in the area got strongly criticised by the European Commission in its winter updates on member states. Eoin Burke-Kennedy reports that Brussels suggests that rapidly rising rents, insufficient residential construction and a lack of affordable and social housing are driving increased rates of homelessness in Dublin and elsewhere.

And returning to the issue of bringing companies to heel, the State’s data privacy watchdog says it will start making decisions by the summer on whether internet giants should face large fines under the new EU data protection laws. Simon Carswell spoke to Helen Dixon as her office publishes its annual report.

It was a good day on the jobs front, particularly for Irish-founded employee recognition group Globoforce, which announced 150 new hires. They’ll be working for Workhuman, the company’s new identity, reports Peter Hamilton.

The ongoing domination of the Irish cider market by C&C’s Bulmers brand will face a new challenge imminently as Guinness parent Diageo returns to the market with a new Lakeshore Cider brand, writes Mark Paul.

Denis O’Brien’s Digicel is hoping to cut its borrowing ration by the end of its financial year in March. Figures published yesterday show that its debt burden rose in the three months to the end of December as group earnings dipped, writes Joe Brennan

Karlin Lillington looks at the dilemma tech giant Microsoft has found itself in. Having raised the bar itself on ethical behaviour in business, it is now feeling the pressure as some staff object to its plans to supply VR technology to the US army to make soldiers more lethal in the field.

Elsewhere in technology, Charlie Taylor wraps up the coverage of this year’s Mobile World Congress, where 5G was the big talking point, while Olive Keogh looks at increasingly ambitious vegan producers who are targeting a bigger bite of the food market.

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