Time to rotate to Revolut? Rising first time buyers and builders at the Etihad

The best news, analysis and comment from The Irish Times business desk

Almost 31,000 first time buyers were given mortgage approvals in the year to last month, the second highest level since the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) began its data series in 2011. Laura Slattery crunches the numbers, which give insight into almost every manner of loan approved by banks in the mortgage market. Overall approvals were seen to have gained strongly during April, with volumes up 14 per cent year-on-year.

Retail activity at The Square Town Centre in Dublin’s southside suburb of Tallaght are to continue as normal following the appointment by AIB of receivers. Joe Brennan explains how the move has been taken in order to complete an orderly sale of the company. Kieran Wallace and Eamonn Richardson of Interpath Advisory have gone in as joint receivers with the consent of owner, US investment firm Oaktree Capital.

In the ongoing debate over Ireland’s accommodation of data centres, developer Equinix has said current policy is holding back employment and hitting the economy. Citing a newly commissioned report, it says, reports Barry O’Halloran, that a centre it proposes for Dublin would support 10,000 jobs. However the facility has been refused a connection to the national electricity grid. A regulator policy review of the sector is due shortly.

The news that online bank Revolut is to launch an instant access savings account with interest rates considerably higher than what is offered in the traditional alternatives brought much excitement this week. But it raises questions too, especially for potential customers who know little about the banking world. What are they offering? Would my money be safe? Are they the only ones? Peter Flanagan answers some of the questions savers are asking.


They have worked on Páirc Uí Chaoimh, the Aviva Stadium and Croke Park but now Sisk have been contracted to improve things at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, reports Barry O’Halloran. The €350 million deal will see capacity at the English Premier League champions’ ground boosted to 60,000.

It seems that no matter what, bankers will never profit from complaining about bonus pay. Nevertheless, as reported by Joe Brennan, Bank of Ireland’s outgoing chairman Patrick Kennedy used his final agm speech to have a pop at restrictions. In Ireland’s three surviving domestic lenders, bonuses above €20,000 are subject to an 89 per cent levy. AIB will continue to press for reform in this area, while remuneration for the top role is likely to rise above the €394,000 it has been since 2009.

The European Central Bank has warned that negotiated pay increased 4.7 per cent from a year ago in the first quarter of 2024. That key gauge of euro-area wages will act as a warning sign to European Central Bank (ECB) officials holding out for a drop in inflation rates. Most economists had expected a fall in pay increases, or at least some stability. That said, many feel overall data is going in the right direction.

Meanwhile in Ireland, Eoin Burke-Kennedy brings the latest data on employment which shows numbers continue to grow, but at a slower rate. Although 2.7 million were working in the first quarter of 2024, the annual increase of 1.9 per cent was the lowest in three years.

Whatever happened to mid-1970s studies on the economic implications of Ireland breaking its link with sterling? An esoteric question perhaps, but in his column John FitzGerald looks at the broader idea of how research feeds into actual government policy, or more to the point, how long it can take. There are political questions too, and sometimes what comes out the other side of expert analysis is the second or third best choice.

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