Five things you need to know today

EU Commission and Apple; Pat Hickey returns to Dublin; Longboat Quay deal

Buses drive through Syrian government-controlled crossing on the  outskirts of Aleppo on Sunday during an evacuation  of rebel fighters and civilians. Photograph: AFP

Buses drive through Syrian government-controlled crossing on the outskirts of Aleppo on Sunday during an evacuation of rebel fighters and civilians. Photograph: AFP


1. EU Commission ‘exceeded its powers’ in Apple tax case
The Government has moved to pre-empt the expected publication of the full EU Commission ruling on the controversial €13 billion Apple tax case .
In a statement early today, it said the commission had misinterpreted Ireland’s tax laws and wrongly ruled that profits not attributable to activity in Ireland should have been taxed here.
The commission has found that Ireland deliberately decided to forego tax due from the US multinational over many years by giving it favourable tax treatment. But the Government says the commission has misinterpreted Ireland’s tax laws.

2. Proposal to make public servants pay more for pensions
Plans to get staff in the public service to pay more towards their pensions are being examined by the Government.
Informed sources said it would be likely the Government would look for a greater financial contribution from staff towards their pensions in tandem with the unwinding of the existing public service pension levy and any pay increases that came about as part of a successor to the existing Lansdowne Road agreement.
A number of informed sources said trade unions were aware of plans by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to press for greater “burden-sharing” on pensions in forthcoming talks, but that there has been absolutely no agreement on such a move.
Some sources have suggested the Government could look for greater contributions towards pensions from staff earning more than €50,000 while others suggested it could be €65,000.

3. Pat Hickey back in Dublin and vows to clear name
Pat Hickey has arrived back in Dublin after almost five months in Brazil, once again reiterating his innocence in relation to alleged ticket-touting at the Rio Olympics and stating that he “will do everything possible to clear my name.”
The former president of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI), who temporarily stepped aside from that role following his arrest in Rio on August 17th, left Brazil on Wednesday night, and following a few days in London, arrived in Dublin on Sunday evening.
“I have returned to Ireland where I will undergo ongoing medical treatment under the care of my medical consultant,” said Mr Hickey. “It has been an extremely traumatic few months for myself and my family.
“Once again I wish to state that I am totally innocent of all charges against me.”

4. Deal worth €3.1m agreed to remedy Longboat Quay defects
A €3.1 million settlement to finally resolve fire safety defects identified almost two years ago at Longboat Quay apartment complex in Dublin’s docklands has been reached.
Dublin City Council will contribute €1.85 million and receivers to developer Bernard McNamara’s building company Gendsong will pay €1.25 million to fund the repair works under a deal that will be put to apartment owners on Monday.
The money will completely cover the estimated €2.5 million fire safety work that must, under the orders of the city’s chief fire officer, be completed by next May. The remaining money will be used to cover legal costs and to fund work needed to the roof, which is separate from the fire safety issues.

5. McGuinness repeats call for Foster to stand aside over ‘cash for ash’
A crucial meeting of Northern politicians is being held at Stormont to address the controversy surrounding the Renewable Heat Incentive, or “cash for ash”, scheme.
The Assembly has been recalled for DUP leader and First Minister Arlene Foster to deliver a statement on the green energy programme, the alleged mishandling of which is expected to cost the taxpayer in the North more than £400 million (€478 million).
The DUP supports an independent investigation “free from partisan political interference”, but Sinn Féin is demanding a judicial-led inquiry.

And finally: Home Sweet Home is the real ‘New Politics’
As homelessness activists take over Apollo House, a vacant Nama owned property in Dublin city centre, Una Mullally writes that our elected officials don’t want to upset the landlords.