ECB weighs half point rise; the bank with no cash; and Leo Varadkar on his time in enterprise

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

Speculation is growing that the European Central Bank will hike interest rates by a full half percentage point when it meets tomorrow. The ECB had been widely expected to trigger a quarter point raise in its first upward move on rates in over a decade. The move comes as a new Bank of America fund manager survey shows that 86 per cent of respondents think Europe is heading for a recession. Joe Brennan reports.

AIB, one of Ireland two remaining substantial retail banks, has decided to make more than half its branches cash free. It has decided that customers needing access to cash will instead be content to queue up at their local post office. Joe has the details, including which branches will not have any cash access, including ATMs, from this autumn.

Meanwhile, customers of Ulster Bank and KBC are proving reluctant to get started on finding a new bank just months before the two foreign lenders bid farewell to the Irish market. Ireland’s consumer protection watchdog has urged people to start planning for a bank switch or risk financial chaos when the banks close, with missed direct debit and loan repayments and a negatively impacted credit rating.

As he prepares to again take on the role of Taoiseach later this year, the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise Leo Varadkar talks to Eoin Burke-Kennedy about the challenges and the successes of the past two years and explains why he thinks Sinn Féin’s economic policies would lead to a loss of investment and result in fewer jobs.


A skills shortage across the industry and rapidly rising raw material costs means the construction sector is unlikely to hit its house building targets, according to a new survey of companies in the sector, writes Joe Brennan.

Twitter has won round one of its legal battle with one-time suitor Elon Musk after a Delaware court backed its request for a speedy trial to assess whether he can be held to his planned €43 billion takeover of the business.

Developer Tetrarch Capital has submitted a planning application for a new 142-bedroom hotel on the site of the former Deer Park hotel in Howth, which shut in April 2014. The new hotel forms part of Tetrarch’s wider plans for the 472-acre Howth Estate, which it owns, writes Ciarán Hancock.

And plans to build 364 apartments and some houses on the sportsgrounds of Terenure College in a move that the Carmelites, who run the school say will secure the school’s future, have attracted 215 objections. Gordon Deegan reports that the largely build to rent scheme will rise to seven storeys on the site in the heart of suburban Dublin.

Assurances from the US administration that it would secure congressional support for key elements of the OECD global corporate tax deal seem less confident now as Democrat Senator Joe Manchin decides to play hardball on taxes and climate change in advance of midterms that could see the Democrats lose control of Congress, writes Cliff Taylor.

Payments to at least 120 former workers at major building contractor Roadbridge have been held up after the construction company’s directors failed to provide key information to the Department of Social Protection, according to trade union Siptu. It says the workers, let go in April, can now finally approach the department for money they are owed. Barry O’Halloran reports.

Sarah O’Connor argues that young people are suffering a social recession, with greater numbers of under-24s saying they felt lonely during the Covid lockdowns than pensioners who were widely considered to be the group most at risk. Part of the issue? the greater insularity created by access to smartphones and the internet.

In the last Commercial Property section before the summer break, Ronald Quinlan reports that developer Johnny Ronan is close to putting in place a €150 million refinancing of his Spencer Place development.

Finally, “visionary” businessman Seán Melly has died at the age of 57. Most recently managing director of Powerscourt Capital, he was best known for challenging Europe’s telecoms monopolies in the 1990s and also maintained close connections with his alma mater, Trinity College.

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