The cost of unity; An Post raises stamp prices: and sustainable ‘leather’ for fashion

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Reunification in Ireland would require either a major hike in taxes or a significant reduction in public spending, the Oireachtas Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement has been told.

Reunification in Ireland would require either a major hike in taxes or a significant reduction in public spending, the Oireachtas Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement has been told.

 

Reunification in Ireland would cause a financial shock in the Republic, requiring either a major hike in taxes or a significant reduction in public spending, according to economist John FitzGerald. Either way, there would be a drop in living standards. Eoin Burke-Kennedy was listening in as he appeared before the Oireachtas Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

Separately, Eoin reports that the Government was warned by its own housing agency that its new shared-equity loan scheme could end up inflating house prices. The advice, disclosed under Freedom of Information, was given ahead of the last budget when the measure was first announced.

In his column, Ciarán Hancock says the proposed shared equity scheme is once again addressing a demand-side issue when everyone agrees the problem with housing is with insufficient supply. It’s quite something, he notes when the Housing Agency set up by the government in 2010, the Central Bank and the ESRI are all sounding similar warnings on a key policy tool of the State to tackle the housing crisis.

Private insurer Laya has found itself in court in an ongoing battle with the HSE over the charging of private patients for beds in public hospitals. The HSE told the High Court that some hospitals are close to €1 million out of pocket over the affair.

Dublin’s Trinity College is close to investing €150,000 in an app that would allow tourists to guide themselves through the historic campus as it looks to prepare for the return of visitors. Gordon Deegan has the details.

An Irish-based designer has developed a sustainable alternative to leather from pineapple leaves that is now in demand in the fashion industry. Deirdre McQuillan spoke to Carmen Hijosa, who has been shortlisted for a prestigious European innovation award on the back of her work developing the textile, called Pinatex, through her company Ananas Anam.

There are fears of inflation as the economy reopens post-Covid and An Post has come to the front of the queue, triggering a rise in the price of stamps that had been put on hold last year. Domestic stamps will rise 10 cent as originally planned but there will be a 30 cent hike for international mail as freight costs surge, An Post chief executive David McRedmond told Barry O’Halloran. However, he says that price may come back if freight costs stabilise after the Covid pandemic.

Price rises will not put some people off. Wealthy Chinese citizens could invest up to €65 million extra in the Republic under the Government’s cash for visas scheme, as they seek an alternative English-language base in the European Union after Brexit. Barry writes that the Government’s Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) allows non-EU families can secure the right to live in the Republic in return for investing €1 million in companies operating in specified industries, or donating six-figure sums to charity.

In Commercial Property,Donnybrook House is being brought to the market at a guide price of €27 million, writes Ronald Quinlan. Acquired by British developer U+I and US real estate investor Colony Capital for €10 million, it has struggled to find tenants since a significant remodelling and refurbishment in 2018.

Not too far away, the ESB is seeking a buyer for the landmark Baggot Street premises of the former Larry Murphy’s pub. The property is for sale at a guide price of €1 million.

Ronald also has details of a €147 million financing deal struck by Pat Crean’s Marlet developments to fund its Grand Canal Harbour scheme in Dublin 8, the such transaction completed in the capital so far in 2021.

Finally, PwC is likely to have a new landlord at its Dublin headquarters, as Middle Eastern investors issue a request for proposals to a number of commercial property advisers to bring the property to market for a price likely to be over €265 million.

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