Should those living in large houses after their children leave  be encouraged by the State to trade down? Photograph: iStock

Smart Money: Majority of Irish people live in homes too large for their needs

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney. Photograph:  Julien Behal Photography.

Support being provided to offest effects of Britain leaving bloc on exports and sectors such as fishing

Isme said SME owners were being approached to invest in unregulated products, with promises of large financial returns. Photograph: iStock

Collapse of German property investment scheme has left many SMEs with losses

 The Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine being administered to staff at St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin on Wednesday. Photograph: Alan Betson

We face a difficult interim period as we wait for the slow roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine

The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) sold a greater-than-expected €5.5 billion of 10-year bonds on Tuesday, covering a third of the minimum amount of borrowings the State plans to raise in 2021 to deal with the coronavirus crisis. Photograph: iStock

Smart Money: Ireland sold €5.5bn debt this week at a negative rate. What does this mean for the State’s finances?

Much of the flour imported to Ireland from the UK is also now subject to tariffs of up to 50 per cent, due to the presence in it of Canadian wheat. Photograph: Getty Images

Rules of origin also affect imports of UK flour

Disruption at ports will settle, though hold-ups could continue to be an ongoing irritant. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Growth will be lowered initially but the long-term impact may be more subtle

  Members of the public wearing face masks on Grafton Street, Dublin, in  August. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Speed of the vaccine rollout is now the key economic variable for this year

The UK is set to leave the transition period it entered after its departure from the EU last January. File photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images

Q&A: From shopping costs to fishing, here is your guide the EU-UK deal

The European Central Bank’s action will continue to give Ireland extra flexibility in the years to come, but it is not limitless. Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

A rocky road lies ahead in early 2021, but beyond that the outlook is improving

Christmas shoppers on Grafton Street: Consumer spending, which accounts for half of all economic activity, collapsed by more than 13 per cent in the second and third quarters, compared with a year earlier. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

2020 in review: You can’t turn an economy off and on again without massive damage

If no trade deal was reached the two sides would have traded on what are called World Trade Organisation terms. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP

Trade deal between the EU and UK means damaging tariffs will be avoided

Trucks at Dover. The port – through which many Irish exporters and importers move goods – has said it is closed to trucking and passengers “until further notice”. Photograph:  Gareth Fuller

Up to 250 lorries stuck in England because of measures to halt new coronavirus strain

Demand isn’t the problem – houses are too dear and there aren’t enough of them. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

In many cases you are really just putting money into the pockets of those selling

The pandemic has interrupted the consistent rise in prices of recent years, but hasn’t sent it into reverse. Photograph: iStock

Smart Money: Prices resilient so far, but next year could bring a different story

The latest figures on public sector pensions show a State liability of €149.6bn. File photograph: Getty Images

A guide to what you need to know about the rising cost of the State’s pension liability

Green Party TD Neasa Hourigan says she does not think the CETA deal is compatible with the Programme for Government. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Neasa Hourigan and Patrick Costello said they would vote against ratification of CETA

If sterling falls as a result of a no-deal – and stays lower – then this could limit some of the impact on prices, though it would make life even more difficult for Irish exporters to the UK

Consumers will quickly feel the impact of Brexit, deal or no deal

About 37 per cent of food exports, valued at €4.5 billion, go to the UK market each year, with beef – which sells nearly half its exports to the UK – being the most exposed.  Photograph: iStock

Government looking to repurpose schemes set up to help businesses cope with Covid-19

The costs of so-called non-tariff barriers – the customs procedures, bureaucracy and delays which will apply even if there is a deal – can cost as much or more as tariffs. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

As the final deadline looms what is at stake for the economy, businesses and jobs

The A16 highway between Dunkerque and Calais in France shows trucks heading to the Channel tunnel stuck in a traffic jam due to extensive controls by the customs officers protesting against the lack of staff and material ahead of the Brexit. File photo by Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty

‘If there are delays in France, you’ll see it sooner or later on the M50’

Coca-Cola  paid tax in Ireland between 2007 and 2009 at an average rate of just 1.4 per cent. Photograph: Ramin Talaie/Bloomberg

Smart Money: Our tax rules meant this country was a vital link in the chain of tax avoidance

A key issue for Ireland is the threat to trade through the landbridge to and from continental Europe via the UK, through which 150,000 Irish trucks move every year. Photograph:  Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Failure to reach agreement between UK and EU would hit trade and hurt consumers

Whatever happens, we are heading for a hard Brexit with Britain leaving the EU single market and the customs union. Any hope of a future of frictionless trade is long gone.

Eleventh hour brings us face to face with hard Brexit, disruption and high costs

Working from home: Companies have found that the work gets done, but what happens when the Covid-19 crisis is over?

Smart Money: More flexible working is likely, but what will it mean for your life?

Europe also faces decisions; and none is trickier than on fish.

Seemingly intractable problem of fisheries will require pragmatism and imagination

The former offices of Anglo Irish Bank on St Stephen's Green, Dublin. File photograph: Frank Miller

Then and now: 10 years after an Irish government lost our economic sovereignty

Holyhead: For many Irish companies this will be the first time they have exported outside of the EU.

Smart Money: Whatever happens the economy will be hit

French tax authorities have begun demanding millions of euros from US technology groups as they push ahead with a new digital services tax that has enraged Washington. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire

France demanding tax payments from US tech groups including Facebook and Amazon

‘I saw four people coming and going . . . if people are being pressurised to come into the office, it isn’t here.’ File photograph: Getty

Toxic three-way relationship between Government, Nphet and business is not helping

Coca-Cola: IRS found its profits were inflated in overseas operations and less profit was booked in the US. Photograph: Remy Gabalda/AFP/Getty

Irish operation central to case relating to 2007-2009 tax assessment

If the model moves away from public/private partnerships, this involves the private sector being involved as contractors, building properties, but not as developers of public land.   Photograph: iStock

Smart Money: Will Oscar Traynor houses be delayed for years? Or is there a way forward?

The EU and UK are trying to strike a deal on their future relationship before the end of the transition period at the end of this year. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Both sides aware that failing to reach deal would cause huge damage

It is vital we find a balance for Christmas which does not involve another widespread shutdown and tens of thousands being laid off again in early 2021.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Government must intensify its help for businesses as science moves to beat virus

Tax on labour in the Republic  is relatively low, with a rate of 37.8 per cent compared to an EU average of just over 46 per cent in the most recent period of 2012 to 2017.

Smart Money: A new ESRI report points to where tax here is high – and where it might rise

Joe Biden is seen as likely to take a less openly aggressive attitude to China.

Biden victory and Pfizer coronavirus vaccine announcement see share prices surge

 Grafton Street with festive lights: Consumption patterns over Christmas will be worth watching to see how people are adapting to spending online, and what they may do when shops reopen. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Covid-19 curbs on behaviour have built up levels of personal saving never before seen

Joe Biden. Photograph: Getty

Smart Money: Massive exports to the US from the Irish pharma sector in the spotlight

 Non-essential items are sealed off in a Tesco store in Cardiff, Wales, as the country entered a national ‘firebreak lockdown’ on October 23rd to curb the surge of Covid-19 cases. Photograph: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

After a nervy winter, focus will be on reducing long-term economic damage from Covid

 Next US president – Joe Biden or  Donald Trump?  A Biden White House would not sign a deal seen to unfairly target big US companies. Photograph:  Jim Watson,Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty

Rhetoric of bringing American investment back to the US is key to Biden campaign

Dublin city centre in lockdown: “Each time there is a lockdown, fewer jobs will return after the reopening and fewer businesses will make it back. The floor level of unemployment will rise.” Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Cliff Taylor: We are starting from a position of what can stay open rather than what must close

The concern now is that as more businesses run into financial trouble, even with Government supports, many will not make it through.  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Smart Money: How do we calculate the likely economic cost of ongoing lockdowns?

The Irish economy is likely to contract by around 1.3%  in the fourth quarter, according to Davy stockbrokers economist Conall Mac Coille

Call for Government to show how successive waves of opening and closing the economy can be avoided

A woman passes a mural in Dublin city centre as the  Government prepares  to sign off on plans to introduce further country-wide restrictions. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

If our economic strategy is open and close and wait for a vaccine, then the dangers are obvious

The closure of a dozen Pamela Scott stores is just the latest example of financial stress in the retail sector. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

Four to six weeks of Level 4 or 5 restrictions could quickly add €1 billion or more to deficit

A woman walks past a cafe on Main Street, Cavan, on Thursday, as counties Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan  move to Level 4 of the Government’s Living with Covid-19 plan. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

State has leeway, but the cost of another Covid-19 lockdown would be significant

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath and Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe during a photocall at Government Buildings prior to the announcement of Budget 2021.  Photograph:   Julien Behal

The amounts of cash being put into businesses forced to close or severely restrict activities due to Covid is unprecedented

Ireland’s national debt at the end of next year is expected to be almost €240 billion. Image: iStock

Smart Money: It is different to the last crisis – but a huge debate lies ahead on public finances

Budget 2021: Government ‘may be trying to limit’ further flow of IP assets into Ireland

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Public Expenditure  Michael McGrath leaned towards doing more, rather than doing less. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Budget 2021: Economic outlook on a knife edge due to pandemic uncertainties

The budget will announce a shake-up of the tax scheme for cars designed to discourage the use of the most polluting vehicles. SUVs now account for 45% of new car sales. Photograph: Getty Images

Major shake-up in VRT and rise of up to €50 in motor tax for cars with high emissions

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has said repeatedly that he believes an agreement at OECD level is still the best option for Ireland. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

International corporate tax regime could cost State up to €2bn in lost revenue annually

The Construction Industry Federation says it has worked to promote new safety guidelines through new operating procedures. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Shutting industry would hit delivery of housing and infrastructure, lobby group claims

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath: Budget 2021 will be all about Covid-19 and key areas such as housing and the green agenda. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Damage limitation, jobs, cohesion and hope are backdrops to Ministers’ tasks

Paschal Donohoe, the Minister for Finance. Photograph: Alan Betson

Deficit for 2020 expected to be €21bn, considerably less than had been feared

One of the key messages of Budget 2021 will be: go out and spend your cash, it is your national duty. Photograph: iStock

Talk of more restrictions makes Budget 2021 a much more difficult job

Paschal Donohoe confirmed that a major recovery fund would be put in place to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Figures drawn up on basis of no further increase in public health restrictions

Paschal Donohoe, the Minister for Finance. Photograph: Alan Betson

Updated forecasts suggest a figure of €21–€22 billion – less than 7 per cent of GDP

People queueing outside a Smyths toy store in Dublin earlier this week, as debate raged over a possible move to Level 5 restrictions. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Smart Money: We need to decide which businesses need to close at Levels 4 and 5

Minister for Public Spending Michael McGrath.

Figure is €16bn higher than revised estimates published earlier this year

Retail Ireland said a shutdown would have had “a devastating impact on thousands of businesses and jobs”. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

Cliff Taylor: Could the Government say no a second time to NPHET in a few weeks’ time?

Henry Street: In the months ahead,  it will become clear  a lot of jobs will not be coming back and a lot of businesses will close. Early 2021 could be tricky. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Export sector remains strong but budget faces key challenge of building confidence across economy

Paschal Donohoe: Slowly the pieces for Budget 2021 are starting to fall into place. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Tax revenues beat expectations but forecasts see lower growth and higher unemployment

Is this the future of office work?

Smart Money: Many staff prefer the option of remote working but can employers facilitate it?

Delays were also identified in the time it took to issue determinations after hearings.

Cases at appeals commission at end 2019 on average had been in that process for at least two years

The forecasts are drawn up on the basis of no vaccine being available next year. File photograph: The Irish Times

New official forecasts show GDP hit less than expected, but unemployment crisis looms

Publicly available returns show that Micahel D’Arcy was lobbied directly by the IAIM in 2017.

Tánaiste says ex-minister should have contacted Sipo before taking private sector role

Publicly available returns show that Micahel D’Arcy was lobbied directly by the IAIM in 2017.

Incoming chief of association of investment managers says he is in compliance with rules

Michael D’Arcy was elected to the Seanad from the agricultural panel in March and his vacancy will be filled by a byelection. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Michael D’Arcy to resign Seanad seat for Irish Association of Investment Management post

Output in modern multinational-dominated sectors continues to rise but in more traditional sectors is down sharply. Image: Getty Images

Uncertainty has gripped the economy. Here’s where we’re at in this strangest of recessions

Cliff Taylor: We appear to be on some kind of strange economic plateau. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

The more restrictions and the longer they last, the bigger the economic hit

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath. Photograph: Julien Behal

Government must move now to help those whose jobs have been upended by pandemic

Total gross wealth, before subtracting debt, is €667.4 billion – of which around 60 per cent is accounted for by principal private residences. Photograph: iStock

Smart Money: New Central Bank analysis of State’s wealth has key lessons

Restrictions in Dublin, which represents not far off half the economy’s output, will have a wider economic impact.  Photograph: Getty Images

Cliff Taylor: Ecosystem of life in the city centre set to take another big blow

A large red percentage sign sits on a roller coaster symbolising the ups and downs of interest rate directions.

Smart Money: A new era of super-low mortage rates – and pressure on banks to charge for your savings

Brexit developments may continue the political momentum towards a Border poll, but coronavirus means less cash and resources to pay the bills.

‘Brexit has changed the debate and put the whole issue in the melting pot,’ says expert

 Stephen Donnelly: despite the furore over new record-keeping rules for pubs and restaurants, the  Minister for Health says wet pubs must have a chance to reopen as soon as possible. Photograph: Alan Betson

In some cases the Government is going to have to ‘play God’ and decide which businesses survive

Those in lower-paid areas of employment are suffering most from job losses and poorer prospects, while many better paid employees continue, supported in many cases by their ability to work from home. Photograph: iStock

Smart Money: Payments by higher earners support exchequer for now – but tax bills could rise

European Commission president  Ursula von der Leyen addresses a press conference following the resignation of  EU trade commissioner Phil Hogan, in Brussels. Photograph: François Walschaerts/EPA

Influence of Irish commissioner in looking after specific national interests is limited

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly: he said the pandemic is close to having us shut down the country again.  Photograph: Tom Honan

Businesses need to know what the overall strategy is. We can’t be waiting to find out every Friday

Politically, one of the striking figures in the CSO survey is that just 8 per cent of those laid off in quarter two and who are now on the PUP do not expect to return to their previous employment. Photograph: iStock

Smart Money: The situation is unprecedented and much remains unclear

Suffering retail: boarded-up shop on a deserted  Grafton Street in March. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Government urgently needs to persuade furious citizens it can operate competently

Will office ever go back to the pre-Covid normal?

Smart Money: Will working from home remain the norm?

Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Maybe Heather Humphreys was right and some jobs will never return

Pigs at a farm in Yorkshire. The EU will want to ensure that British animals and food products entering the Republic via the North are subject to appropriate customs checks and meet safety standards. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Smart Money: Brexit is back – here are the five things you need to know

People on a busy Henry Street in Dublin’s city centre in mid-July. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Government has to give clear advice on returning to work

What should we be doing to prepare, in case  a viable vaccine presents itself sooner rather than later? Image: iStock

Smart Money: A viable vaccine could change everything for the global and domestic economies


Jobs will be saved – but the coming autumn will be marked by an economic reckoning

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe: his department has said the State has so far provided €20bn in direct supports to counter the impact of Covid-19 on the economy. Photograph: Julien Behal

This amounted to around 12% of economic output, according to an analysis published by the Department of Finance

Rossnowlagh Strand in Co  Donegal: staycation scheme will be popular but may give people a refund on money they would have spent anyway.     Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Pump priming and jobs targeted but fear of second wave makes confidence scarce

When  the impact of prices is considered, Irish households no longer belong to the EU rich club.

Smart Money: Headline data shows we are better off than our neighbours – but it is wrong

Taoiseach Micheál Martin: The centrepiece of the Government stimulus plan will be  new employment supports based on a German scheme. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Plan will include new employment scheme to support wages of those temporarily put on short-time working

Taoiseach  Micheál Martin in Brussels at the end of the EU summit.

Cash gains limited for State but fallout from a summit collapse could have been costly

The context for the July stimulus is politically tricky. Above, Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Photograph: Francisco Seco/AFP via Getty

Supporting businesses and jobs is the right path for now but unpopular decisions await

People waiting for a bus in Dublin city centre. Photograph Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Smart Money : Vital decisions on wage subsidy, grants and VAT in the balance

The Apple logo on display at a company store in Brussels. The EU general court ruling is a big blow for the European Commission. Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP

Cliff Taylor: Cupertino, not Cork, clearly called the shots in tech giant’s Irish business

Competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager. The European Commission looked at the way Apple set up its business in Europe and specifically at how profits earned all over Europe were allocated to the ‘head offices’ of two companies. Photograph: Kenzo Tribouillard/EPA

Cliff Taylor: Key question is will the State contest the decision again?

Apple chief executive Tim Cook with former taoiseach Enda Kenny the company’s campus in Cork in 2014.

European court decision due this week will put corporate tax policy back under spotlight

The recession means all the drive now is to keep interest rates low. But how long can this last?

Smart Money: The path of borrowing costs is vital for households – and for the State

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