Tracker overcharging of €664,000, INM closing Citywest and Heitman’s price

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A Kerry businessman’s settlement with KBC is one of the biggest of the tracker mortgage scandal to date.

A Kerry businessman’s settlement with KBC is one of the biggest of the tracker mortgage scandal to date.


A Kerry businessman was overcharged just over €664,000 in interest by KBC Bank Ireland after it wrongly withdrew his tracker mortgage rate, writes Neil Michael. The businessman’s settlement is one of the biggest of the tracker mortgage scandal to date, which is estimated to have cost around €1 billion.

Independent News and Media (INM) is moving to close its printing plant in Citywest, Dublin, which employs some 84 people. Mark Paul reports that two-thirds of the staff have applied for a voluntary redundancy scheme.

US property player Heitman paid ¤52 million to private individuals for the 214 apartments that the firm bought in Dublin this week. The price means the properties changed hands for an average of more than €1.9 million each. Barry O’Halloran has the story.

Mark Paul reports that a consortium led by the original founders of Cork outsourcing company Abtran has bought back the majority stake in the business that was owned by Carlyle Cardinal Ireland (CCI), a private equity fund. Abtran employs more than 1,600 people and holds contracts including the Irish Water call centre.

Mark also has details on the accounts of Shamrock Rovers football cub, into which Dermot Desmond is preparing to inject some €2 million. The investment roughly matches the combined deficit of the club and its youth academy.

Farmers’ groups in the North and the Republic have called for clarification on how food processed in each other’s markets would be treated under the proposed Brexit deal. The Irish Farmers’ Association and the Ulster Farmers’ Union both expressed concern about future arrangements when they appeared at a Seanad committee on Wednesday. Simon Carswell was there.

More than three quarters of companies plan to increase basic pay next year, the employers’ group Ibec has said. It said companies responding to its survey expect a median pay increase of 2.5 per cent, writes Martin Wall.

John Holden was lucky enough to dine recently with Dr John Goodenough, the 97-year-old Texas resident who was co-winner of this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his part in developing the rechargeable lithium-ion battery. This is a laureate, Holden explains, who welcomes everyone with open arms into his life, has never touched a drop of alcohol, and never wants to “retire and simply wait to die”.

With data privacy one of the biggest challenges facing both tech companies and consumers just now, Ciara O’Brien asks, do the tech giants really care?

And on the same theme, Karlin Lillington uses this week’s Net Results column to muse on the idea of whether or not we should inform visitors to our homes about our various “smart” devices (think Alexa and her friends) before they enter. She takes a wry look at how this could, in theory, work in the future.

Fiona Alston this week speaks to Eoghan Mulcahy, the man behind Limerick technology company Deepseek, which aims to speed up river rescues by using artificial intelligence. Mulcahy explains that his idea struck when he witnessed a rescue attempt at first hand last year.

Three companies have made the shortlist in the New Frontiers category of this year’s Irish Times Innovation Awards: an online personal shopper that works for the customer, not the store; the developer of a buoy that contains sensors to monitor the marine environment, and the company behind a new concept in additives for animal feeds. Barry McCall has the details.

In her weekly round-up of the best of the web, Marie Boran considers a German university study that found those who cope with stress or anxiety by posting frequently on Facebook are more likely than others to develop an addiction to the platform. Facebook Addiction Disorder (Fab), it seems, is a real thing.

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