Derailing Government housing plans; unpaid leave at Intel; and watching Sean Quinn’s tears

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

The Government’s landmark plan to address the housing crisis could be derailed by a marked slowdown in building activity, experts believe. Eoin Burke-Kennedy reports on the latest data, finding that concerns about meeting construction targets are focusing particularly on the development of apartments from 2023 on.

Staff at Intel, which employs some 5,000 in the State, have been offered voluntary unpaid leave as the chip giant seeks to curb its costs. Mark Hilliard has more details on the story, which emerged late on Thursday evening.

Why must we still be subjected to the hot, bitter tears of Sean Quinn? Mark Paul asks the question in his Caveat column, wondering if we have anything to learn, really, from watching Ireland’s erstwhile richest man “choke back emotion while he pickles in self pity in his mansion” as part of this week’s RTÉ television account of his rise and fall.

Cavan-based precision tool maker ATA has acquired businesses in the Netherlands and Britain in moves that will take its annual revenues to about €100 million and its group employee numbers to 500. Ciarán Hancock has that story.


Pfizer has confirmed plans to invest more than €1 billion in its Grange Castle manufacturing facilities in Dublin, adding between 400 and 500 jobs over the next five years. Ian Curran has more on the largest single pharmaceutical sector investment in the history of the State.

Ulster Bank has agreed an average 7 per cent pay increase from January for most of its staff, even as it progresses a plan to cut a quarter of its workforce in the Republic from next March as it advances its retreat from the market. Joe Brennan reports

Mark Paul has paid a visit to Belfast, discovering a tale of two economies, as the city looks to regenerate its economy after the pandemic. He finds that while wealth permeates some areas, it has not reached all communities.

Employers that provide more support to graduates at the start of their careers stand a better chance of retaining them, according to an expert who has spoken to Olive Keogh this week. She writes that a decent pay packet is no longer enough for school- and college-leavers, with wellbeing supports and work-life balance initiatives now hugely valued.

John FitzGerald is unhappy with, the umbrella website for government departments that he describes as “a disaster for anyone who wants to get data or publications” from said bodies. The Central Statistics Office site is a different matter altogether, he writes.

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