“A great favourite for starters”: Maura Bourke says she was always able to get avocados in the late 1970s

Pricewatch: Some of you begged to differ with our 1980s nostalgia-fest

Frustrated: returning emigrants are being treated like 17-year-old boy racers.

Pricewatch: Insurance companies are making drivers pay for their time abroad

Getting the balance right between chocolate, orange goo, and sponge can be tricky

Going up: a home worth €300,000 at the start of 2017 rose in value by almost €100 every day of last year. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg

Ireland’s property roller coaster is on another crazy climb. Any chance of a soft landing?

Jack Gallagher, from Winter Park in Florida, travelled for the Dublin City Marathon last October. He has still not got his prize.

Jack Gallagher is still awaiting his €125 reward after winning the over-80s category

The Charities Regulator has imposed sanctions on a Donegal-based charity over its failure to keep proper financial records. File photograph: Getty Images

Charities Regulator imposes sanctions on the Good and New Shop over fiscal procedures

Residential property prices in Dublin have increased  87.3%  from their February 2012 low, while residential property prices in the rest of the State are 64.8%  higher than their lowest point in May 2013

House prices in Dublin increase 10.8%, while the cost of apartments climbs 14.7%

The Taoiseach’s last treat. Photograph: @Campaignforleo

Taoiseach posts ‘last treat’ pancake before ‘uber healthy’ Lenten fast

Ned and Eileen Cusack at their home near Moycullen  in Co Galway: ‘We never had too much, but we always had enough.’ Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

Ned and Eileen Cusack, one of Ireland’s oldest married couples, mark their 73rd Valentine’s Day together

Happily ever after? Lower your expectations and it will all work out. Photograph: iStock

Low-key weddings and fewer expectations, according to the dozens of Irish couples interviewed about married life for an RTÉ TV pro(...)

‘We are looking for a social media-savvy local with a love of all things Kildare to showcase the county to a global audience,’ says Co Kildare tourism development manager Aine Mangan. Photograph: Getty Images
Co Kildare seeks a new CEO

The Lily Whites search for first Chief Experience Officer to promote Kildare county

New data from retail analysts Kantar Worldpanel suggests that shoppers are now less inclined to shop around.

Data also suggests shoppers are more interested in vegetarian and vegan lifestyles

A  vintage video game. The gaming world has travelled some distance since the 1980s

Pricewatch: When Houghton put the ball in the English net avocados were not part of our world

The State’s consumer watchdog has been poring over hundreds of thousands of emails and other electronic documents as part of its investigation into ticket-touting. File photograph:  iStockphoto

Consumer watchdog is investigating suspected breaches of law by ticketing agents

Aisling Casey. Photograph: Fred van’t Slot

Surprise win for music collective meant nobody was there to accept prize in New York

“My phone rings, I answer it and a recorded female voice says: ‘Please dial the number you are calling.’  It is now wrecking my head and I dread the phone ringing.”

Pricewatch: Phone and broadband supplier tops the list for most complaints to us

Amazon’s centre in Peterborough, England. A report from Retail Ireland report indicates that events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday are hoovering up spending in the run-up to Christmas. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

Much revenue from major sales events going to UK-based traders, Retail Ireland says

The couple took out a mortgage with Bank of Ireland in 2003 but it was only when a letter arrived in early January 2018 that they realised they were in line for a windfall. Photograph: Frantzesco Kangaris/Bloomberg

The mortgage-holders were unaware they had been affected by overcharging scandal

The Central Bank is to crack down on so-called commemorative coins. File photograph: Conor McCabe Photography

Bank to act amid concerns over private firms selling medals marking historic events

Sticks, floss and harps: the best value in dental hygiene

Pricewatch opens wide for the best value in tooth floss, sticks and brushes

According to internet conspiracy theorists, the giants of the tech world are using the microphones on our smartphones to listen in to our conversations and then deploy mysterious algorithms to work out what we want. Photograph: iStock

Pricewatch: Conspiracy theories abound but the truth is probably more prosaic

British authorities examine if Ryanair deliberately splitting up groups

Ashford Castle sits on 365 acres overlooking Lough Corrib. Photograph: Keith Heneghan/Phocus

For years, Ashford Castle was in the doldrums – but a €75 million refit has put it back on the map, and it has been winning intern(...)

Low levels of alcohol ’flush the brain of toxins’

New study reports low levels of alcohol flush out brain toxins, including those associated with Alzheimer’s

Dr Padraic Kenna: Guide sets out how existing EU law should be routinely applied. Photograph: Aengus McMahon

Authors say document can also be used by anyone forced off a tracker mortgage or given incorrect interest calculations

Conor Pope doing his warm-up in St Anne’s Park, Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

After my first attempt to run without a warm-up routine, I was laid low for days

The views of older people in long-term residential care and their families are being sought by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission. Photograph: iStock

CCPC wants submissions from older people in long-term residential care, their families or representatives

Authority says there is no single test to diagnose food intolerance

Pricewatch reader tells of excellent customer service in Lidl

Debbie Murphy’s problems started when she ordered two grey headboards

On hold for 52 minutes pursuing missing Ikea sofa bed

PTSB: if it believed a man was alive for the last 25 years, why did it never send a debit card in his name during this time? Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Reader query: Conor Pope assists readers with their consumer problems and praises Lidl

Upgrade: Enter a world of champagne and calm and canapés and cutlery.  Photograph: Getty Images/E+

Without paying through the nose, can you escape cramped seats, bad food and wailing babies?

The real measure of companies is not how perfect they are but how they handle customers’ problems.

Some top tips to help businesses stay off our pages

Pricewatch: Overpaying, finding the right plans, and the fear of switching insurers...

Learning the hard way: there is a reason experts tell you to warm up before jogging

Among your new year cost-conscious resolutions, be sure to include contacting Pricewatch with your consumer woes.

Pricewatch: Pay day is a long way off so it's time to make you a more savvy spender

‘I don’t know what a tracker mortgage is.’ You do now, pal

The Crash – 10 years on: habits have been transformed, from switching providers to buying own-brand to shopping online

Michael O’Leary: “We deeply regret any doubt we caused existing customers about Ryanair’s reliability, or the risk of further cancellations.” Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

‘Cock-ups’ and staff revolt put Michael O’Leary under unprecedented pressure

Central Bank governor Philip Lane said there was an issue with the culture of the banking system. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

News review of the year 2017: Many still await redress after almost 34,000 overcharged

Sort the crackers from the turkeys with this review of seasonal supermarket trimmings

Some  Irish-based Ryanair  pilots are to take pre-Christmas strike action. Photograph: PA

If your flight is cancelled you must be offered a refund or a seat on the next available flight

Adjusting the lights on College Street for the Luas. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Malfunctioning traffic lights contribute to city-wide gridlock during morning rush hour

There were delays on sections of the Cross City Luas during its first morning rush hour on Monday. Photograph: Collins

Commuters frustrated as congestion causes early morning delays in Dublin city centre

No one is going to thank you for giving them  a  voucher with ridiculously restrictive terms and conditions for Christmas. Photograph: iStock

Pricewatch: We are being fleeced by unregulated, restrictive vouchers – when will it end?

Rehab lottery:  any prize money won up to December 1st will be paid in full.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Charity says lottery was losing money. Radio bingo also ends at 12 stations

Mr Men framed family portrait, €30 unframed, €50 framed, Arnotts

Avoid tears with our tips on secret gift-giving

'Before bed, I tally up the number of times I have used my phone today:  167.'

Conor Pope tracks his smartphone usage for 24 hours to find out how he measures up

Reader Query: Her Eir broadband was useless so she tried to cancel - then the real frustration began

Only 10 per cent of phone users have switched mobile phone handset due to coverage or signal problems and of those, 55 per cent found that switching improved their coverage, compared to 4 per cent who found that their service deteriorated. File photograph: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Just 62 per cent of people living in very rural areas happy with coverage

 “Social norms will develop over time, and it will be interesting to see if the fear of being without one’s phone – nomophobia – starts to become more widely recognised.” File photograph: iStock/Getty Images.

Just under third of users look at devices when crossing road, Deloitte survey finds

“It’s far from smug and intelligent robot toys that I was reared, but Cozmo – set to be one of the big toys this Christmas – is a small signpost to a changing world.” Photograph: Anki

Once you’re beaten, this toy can sing in a way best described as irritatingly triumphalist

Gift idea: Designist   on Dame St in Dublin, or online at shop.designist.ie, have Edison or antique filament light bulbs  set in concrete blocks for €46.50

Where to shop to raise your Secret Santa game and presents that are best avoided

Chris Donohoe booked two tickets to see Peter Kay in Dublin in 2019 through Viagogo. It ended up costing him almost €700. File photograph: Jim Dyson/Getty Images

Pricewatch: Three purchasers forced to pay ‘booking fee’ of more than €100

Ibec predicts an increase in total sales of more than €100m, with sales during the Christmas season expected to top €4.5bn, up from €4.4bn in 2016. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Rising wages and falling prices may lead to average monthly spend of more than €2,500

Rory and Mary McGuire from Castleknock.

‘It is the most reasonable and rational thing in the world to respect the life of the unborn’

Delegates at the Pro Life Campaign’s National Conference 2017 which took place on Sunday, December in the RDS, Dublin. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

One speaker in RDS suggests British model would be replicated in Ireland

Staff at the GPO in Limerick celebrating the Lotto win. Roger Mc Mahon, manager, with Audrey Downes, Aileen Sheehan, Rose Leahy, Eamon Leen and Lisa O’Donnell with Mary Grace and Fran Whearty both from the National Lottery. Photograph: Liam Burke/Mac Innes Photography

After windfall, Limerick winner promises to keep working but looks forward to some sun

The Irish Times has decided to embrace the Christmas music dirgefest. Photograph: Getty

Almost 3,000 people on Twitter returned a clear winner from a four-strong shortist

A bowl of Kellogg’s Coco Pops currently contains 30g of sugar per 100g. Photograph: iStock

Sugar levels to be cut in popular kid’s cereals Coco Pops and Rice Krispies by up to 40%

 European Commissioner for agriculture and rural development Phil Hogan said the document marked “a significant step change in the implementation of the CAP”. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

European Commission document looks to provide more equitable support for farmers

When taxes are excluded the Republic is  the second most expensive place for domestic electricity in the EU. File photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Six of nine providers in State have announced price increases recently

Don’t let Cyber Monday be a retailers’ fun day. Photograph: iStock

Do your research and don’t get carried away. Many ‘bargains’ are not what they appear

Repak chief executive Séamus Clancy says waste wrapping from online deliveries has to be “collected, gathered and recycled” which leaves Repak members paying approximately €500,000. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

Likes of Amazon paying nothing towards recycling of wrapping waste, says State body

Studies have shown that more and more people want early retirement

Can retirement turn into an extended holiday when you are still full of vigour?

An international affair: A worker places a sign  announcing Black Friday sales at a shop in Valencia, Spain, today. Photograph: Juan Carlos Cardenas/EPA

Black Friday – or an extended discount period around it – has been embraced in Ireland

We were quite taken by the suggestion from Penny Petrovski. “To swim with the humpback whales again”. Photograph: Getty

We asked twitter what one place in the world you would like to see (or to see again)

Irish broadband: quality of service is a pressing issue for thousands of households. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Average cost of €60.57 a month compares with €16.16 in Poland

In the days before storm Ophelia supermarkets were buoyed by a sales bounce as shoppers battened down the hatches, Kantar Worldpanel has said. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Storm had ‘surprisingly strong effect’ on Irish grocery market, Kantar Worldpanel says

Pricewatch has been hard at work sampling coffee from a range of machines. Photograph: Getty Images

Pricewatch casts a cold eye on coffee makers and narrows it down to this fantastic four

More bang for (foodie) buck in Tesco and M&S up North, but smaller price gap for toys

The Dublin at Christmas procession on  Grafton Street as the city’s Christmas lights are switched on. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Families and shoppers come out in large numbers for switching-on ceremony

The gift voucher business is worth more than €300m in the Republic each year. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Social Democrats co-leader brings Bill aimed at stopping firms using overly restrictive terms

Our reader booked the elements of the trip separately so requested the cancellation confirmation from Aer Lingus for the outward journey and the accommodation provider, Sixt car hire and Ryanair (for the homeward journey). There was no problem with any provider but Ryanair. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

All our very patient reader asked for was a cancellation confirmation for their insurance

Comfortable clothing, eye mask, cushion and ear plugs will make for a pleasant journey

Conor Pope asked readers how they make airports and planes a little less stressful

Minister of State for Trade and Employment, Pat Breen said that while progress was being made and while information and training were available to farmers, there was a need to change the mindset and culture. Photograph:  Arthur Ellis

Of the 21 fatalities so far in 2017, 12 were of farmers aged over 65

Prof Mike Barnes outlines the scientific and medical evidence to back the Cannabis Medicinal Use Regulation Bill 2016. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Proponents say political fear and misinformation behind State’s failure to allow drug

Prof Ronan Lyons, the author of the report, said those who campaign for improved housing outcomes – from fewer people homeless to better standards in rental accommodation – “need to realise that the solution to all these is more supply”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Rate of increase in Dublin 12.3%

A new report from property website daft.ie says rents have risen by more than 11.2% nationally over the last 12 months. Photograph: Frank Miller

Think tank says the figure could be even higher if housing supply issues are not addressed

ESRI warns of danger that potential credit growth could fuel greater house price inflation. Photograph: Frank Miller

Think-tank says houses more affordable here than in many developed countries in OECD

The tracker mortgage scandal has been described as one of the greatest financial swindles in the history of the State. Photograph: iStock

From financial services to broadband to air travel, there are several public bodies charged with protecting the consumer. But what(...)

Conor Pope in Val d’Isère: “I start barrelling down the final slope on my final day in the French Alps in a style and manner which –I presume – makes me look the spit of James Bond fleeing baddies and try to banish the unwelcome thoughts of crunching teeth.”

An all-inclusive holiday almost turns Conor Pope into Homer Simpson’s fat cousin

Irish Water is set to issue almost one million refund cheques. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

3,000 people have phoned every day since 1st November to change address details for refunds

Research found that 35 per cent of children in third class have their own smart phones with many young people opting to spend First Communion money on such devices. File photograph: Getty Images

Twenty per cent of children spend more than four hours a day online

Some 94 per cent of families reported being affected by the recession, with 23 per cent saying they had been “very significantly” affected. Photograph: Getty Images

Those earning least hit hardest and faced the largest increase in economic stress

Limerick city. Residential property prices outside of Dublin are 29.9 per cent lower than their May 2007 peak.

Increase has accelerated with prices rising 12.8 per cent over past 12 months

“Pedestrians should be held to the same road safety standards as drivers, who after all are paying the price on their motor insurance premium for these kinds of accidents.” File photograph: Getty Images

John Lahart warns distracted pedestrians are ‘more likely to step into oncoming traffic’

The key to good cooking is good shopping. And the key to good shopping is lists. Photograph: iStock

The secrets of buying healthy food cheaply? Smart shopping, porridge, cheap cuts of meat

Air pollution: the EPA is concerned about particulate matter, which largely comes from the burning of solid fuel. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty

Burning of solid fuel poses biggest air-quality threat to public health, says EPA

IDA chief executive Martin Shanahan    admitted that doubts about Apple’s commitment to building the data centre in Athenry had mounted over recent months as the delays in the planning process continued. File photograph: Alan Betson

Martin Shanahan disappointed at how planning delays had impacted on ‘hard won’ investment

Home-heating costs have seen the biggest jump, according to the AA’s cost-of-living survey.

When costs of mortgage, food, utilities, motoring, education and health insurance are added up, a family of four faces significant(...)

The Miele Dialog oven is programmed to understand the energy inside the food and it then “measures and controls and regulates the cooking process”, depending on what it is it is cooking, to deliver perfect food all the time.

Conor Pope goes to Germany to discover what's so special about Miele's Dialog oven

People taking part in an anti-water charges protest. Photograph: Eric Luke

Refunds may take place before Christmas but this is dependent on Bill becoming law

Twenty years ago – if you were lucky – you had a landline and if you didn’t you had to rely on a pay phone. There used to be queues at telephone boxes. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Pricewatch: Things we take completely for granted today would have been unimaginable to consumers 20 years ago

The Louvre museum in Paris: one of the most popular attractions in the city. Photograph: Getty Images

Conor Pope asks readers for their best travel tips

A reader writes to say he believes he was initially given the wrong or at best incomplete information on rebooking flights by Aer Lingus.  Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

Pricewatch: Readers’ consumer queries and observations

Is Gillette really the best a man can get, or is there a lovelier lather elsewhere?

Banks are horrible to people who are guilty of the most minor transgressions. Spend just a few bob more than you have and you will be hit with ridiculous charges.

From the tracker mortgage scandal to closed branches and ATMs loaded with €50 notes

The Central Bank of Ireland (Dublin HQ above) was harshly criticised by TDs and Senators for the length of time it had taken to hold financial institutions to account over the scandal and accused of a “dereliction of duty” over its handling of the issue. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Mortgage scandal described as ‘greatest consumer rip-off in history of the State’

Philip Lane, governor of the Central Bank,  arriving for the Oireachtas committee meeting at the Dáil with Derville Rowland (left), director general of finanancial conduct, and Sharoin Donnery (right), deputy governor of Central Bank. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Governor says Central Bank has no power to force banks to restore tracker mortgages

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