European Commission’s data probe plans, GDP surges and Ryanair’s dividend plan

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

The European Commission is to seek bimonthly updates on probes by Data Protection Commissions in Ireland and elsewhere tied to date issues. In practice, that means investigations into big tech firms, of which Ireland has a multitude. Derek Scally has the story.

Should you get off your tracker mortgage? Fiona Reddan looks at whether people should really try to move off their trackers, which for years were among the cheapest home loans on the market but are more expensive now as the European Central Bank hikes interest rates. If you’d like to read more about the issues that affect your pocket try signing up to On the Money, the new weekly newsletter from our personal finance team, which will be issued every Friday to Irish Times subscribers. You can read the latest edition of the newsletter here.

Also in Your Money, Dominic Coyle answers questions on the ramifications of failing to pay rent and giving the proceeds from a house sale to a friend.

When it comes to measuring our economy, GDP is in some ways meaningless given the plethora of multinational assets moving through the country. Still, it is the basis for calculating the economic health of a country internationally so it is notable that Ireland’s GDP growth was likely the fastest in Europe last year. Eoin Burke-Kennedy reports, while Cantillon also assesses what it all means.


Eoin also reports that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) upgraded its forecast for global growth this year on the back of reduced price pressures, increased fiscal supports by governments and the reopening of the Chinese economy following its zero-Covid policy.

It looks like Ryanair continues to go from strength to strength, The carrier posted profit of €211 million last year while it may restart paying a dividend. Barry O’Halloran has the details, and Cantillon asks what shareholders can expect from the airline.

North Dublin residents have objected to plans for a €200 million tunnel under a runway at Dublin Airport as a total waste of money as they object to the plans. Gordon Deegan reports.

It’s decision week for the world’s major central banks, with the ECB, Federal Reserve and Bank of England all set to announce interest rate hikes. Cantillon also wonders if the ECB is about to face a lot more political pressure to slow its pace of increasing.

One of the things central banks are watching for are signs of a so-called wage spiral. So it is notable that An Post and the Communications Workers’ Union (CWU) have both welcomed a recommendation by the Labour Court that provides for a total increase to pensionable pay and pensions at the company of just over 10 per cent. Emmet Malone has the story

Gordon also reports on estate agent Lisney, which saw its profits surge in its most recent financial year, as the industry recovered from the pandemic.

Residential construction activity and the supply of new homes increased sharply last year with more than 28,000 new address points added to the property database GeoDirectory. As Eoin Burke-Kennedy reports though, that may not be enough to keep up with demand.

In her column, Laura Slattery looks at the rise of AI in newsrooms and asks if the borg is really about to take over from flesh and blood journalists?

Belfast-based Sensoteq is to create 10 jobs in the next year after it secured £500,000 (€569,330) to expand its business. Ciara O’Brien reports.

Ciara also reports that research centre Lero is to invest €2.9 million to fund a number of postdoctoral fellowships in a bid to facilitate responsible innovation.

The Altada saga continues, with a “highly adversarial” legal row expected to unfold over the coming weeks as the Revenue Commissioners apply for the court to set aside a €500,000 loan to insolvent artificial intelligence company Altada Technology Solutions. Ian Curran was in court.

Irish authorities have swept hundreds of websites to identify the use of “dark patterns” on websites, which can be used to push consumers into choices. Colin Gleeson reports.

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