WhatsApp’s privacy policy, Dublin’s busy real estate market, and how to fix the rental crisis

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

Iain Lees, finance director of Strategic Power Projects with Paul Carson, managing director. Photograph: Strategic Power Projects

Iain Lees, finance director of Strategic Power Projects with Paul Carson, managing director. Photograph: Strategic Power Projects


Messaging platform WhatsApp has updated its privacy policy for European users after the record €225 million fine by the Irish privacy watchdog over transparency breaches under EU law. In addition to the fine, the tech giant was ordered by the Irish Data Protection Commission to make required changes to privacy notices for its European users within three months of the ruling in August. Simon Carswell reports.

Dublin is the fifth busiest real estate market in Europe with more than €3 billion invested between the end of last year and the third quarter of 2021, according to a new report by consultancy PwC and the Urban Land Institute. This put the Irish capital on a par with Paris and ahead of cities such as Oslo, Milan and Manchester. Eoin Burke-Kennedy has the details.

Eoin also reports that Irish renewable energy group Strategic Power Projects will receive a grid connection offer to develop a new 185 megawatt (MW) hybrid solar and battery storage project in Co Louth. The project at Monvallet, adjacent to the interconnector, was the single largest project on Eirgrid’s latest ECP list of connection offers.

PrePayPower, the pay-as-you-go energy provider, has reported a net profit of €14.2 million for last year, up 27 per cent on 2019, while warning that it expects earnings this year to be hit by surging energy costs. Publishing its annual results for 2020, which show it generated a turnover of €198 million last year, the company said profit for the current year was likely to be reduced given the “difficult” market conditions.

In our Monday opinion piece, Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó’Broin writes that according to some, the solution to the housing crisis is to encourage new supply of any kind and at any cost. The build to rent model funded by institutional investors is presented at the key solution to increasing supply and reducing rents. Such arguments, he writes, are fundamentally flawed and based on a superficial understanding of the causes of the crisis.

Staying with the housing issue, last week Paschal Donohoe said he intends to introduce a vacant property tax “as early as possible”. While such a move, would play well politically, ultimately it is something that will deliver next to nothing to alleviate the crisis, writes Eoin-Burke Kennedy.

Laura Slattery reports Revolut has partnered with RTÉto raise funds for children’s charities on this year’s Late Late Toy Show charity appeal, joining payments platform Stripe for the initiative.

Some 15 million Revolut users across the European Economic Area and the UK will be able to make instant contributions to the Toy Show appeal through digital payments group’s app using its donations feature.

And finally, Andrew Hill looks at how management fashions can change the world and says that while innovative organisational habits are slow to catch on, as they percolate, they have the potential to transform bloated bureaucracies.

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