Richard Curran: Ireland still has a lot of battles to fight before winning the global war for talent
The so-called global war for talent has become a kind of buzz word on the international conference circuit. It is also big with management...
The so-called global war for talent has become a kind of buzz word on the international conference circuit. It is also big with management...
Permanent TSB chief executive Jeremy Masding signalled in the middle of last year that the gloves were coming off when it came to finally sorting...
When I left Dublin to live in rural Co Donegal in 2012, the country was in the grip of a major economic crisis. Moving to one of the most beautiful but geographically peripheral parts of...
The chief marketing officer of one of the world's biggest consumer goods companies had some pretty harsh things to say about the world of online...
One newspaper described the stock markets as "melting" during the week. Time magazine referred to the "Dow's biggest plunge ever". Yet it wasn't a market meltdown as US and international stocks recovered most of their losses in subsequent sessions.
I was driving across the Border early on the morning of December 8 on my way from home north Donegal to Dublin for work. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's voice came on the radio with reassuring tones for anybody who crosses the Border regularly.
An old saying is business is: 'You snooze, you lose'. When it comes to managing the process for the National Broadband Scheme, the Department didn't just nod off, but went into a coma.
In Ireland we don't do planning very well. It may be a cultural thing or a political mindset borne out of politicians worried about making it through the next election. It could simply be a case of "don't put off until tomorrow what you can put off until next month". The other great weakness in our future proofing is when we come up with excellent plans but never actually put them into practice.
The multibillion-euro collapse of British building giant Carillion will have consequences on this side of the Irish Sea. Not only has the collapse stirred up a political hornet's nest in the UK, it may lead to a backlash against public private partnerships (PPPs) referred to as private finance initiatives (PFIs) in Britain.
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy was at it again this week - announcing more measures here and there to salvage something out of the housing mess.
The US taxman looks set to take a big bite out of Apple's $252bn of overseas cash. The iPhone maker announced that it expects to pay around $38bn in tax to the US, which will be owed regardless of whether it repatriates some, none or all of that money under new tax laws.
Small business remains the backbone of the economy. It is a hugely scattered sector that includes everything from the self-employed man...
A year on from the publication of the report by the Cost of Insurance Working Group, and motor premium rises do seem to be easing. So job well done? Not quite. Motor insurance premiums...
Perhaps it is sage advice to 'never make predictions - especially about the future' but sometimes we can't help ourselves. As we begin 2018, there is a lot to be positive about and my overall prediction is that the economy and business should stay pretty much on track this year.
It has been a year more about good news than bad in the business world. The economy continued to power ahead, and exporting businesses were firing on all cylinders despite the weakness of sterling. The commercial property market was ebullient and some businesses saw a chance to cash in on the positive wave. But it wasn't good news for everyone, as even mature Irish corporate giants had a few banana skins along the way, while international threats to Ireland's competitiveness and dark clouds around Brexit still hung around.
What will be the price of industrial relations peace at Ryanair? It is a question that has been exercising management, stockbrokers, analysts and of course investors. That is not to mention its thousands of staff, who may feel they will be positively affected by the volte-face the airline has done on the issue of recognising trade unions.
There's no need to panic yet about Facebook's decision to book profits locally on international European sales, instead of channelling it all through Ireland. The concern from an Irish exchequer point of view might be that the move signals change is in the wind.
To sell or not to sell - that is the question. The Department of Finance grappled with this issue when it came to re-floating AIB on the stock market. Timing was everything to ensure the IPO got away and at a good price.
It has been jobs galore since the worst days of the crash - or so it seems. The numbers on the live register have hit their lowest level since August 2008, according to CSO figures published during the week.
Tánaiste Simon Coveney said that he didn't want to turn the post-Brexit border into a Green versus Orange issue.
The biggest winners from the sale of the Irish Stock Exchange to Euronext are undoubtedly Davy Stockbrokers. In fact, the country's biggest stockbroking outfit have been big winners in recent years on several fronts from the recovery in the economy.
Dublin City Council has decided to crack down on the growing number of short-term Airbnb-type properties being let out around the capital. Dublin isn't unusual in this regard, as Airbnb has encountered ever-stronger pushback from various city authorities around the world.
The Central Bank has decided not to take the nuclear option when it comes to how much commission investment brokers selling various products receive from the banks, insurance companies or investment firms behind the products.
Losing out to Paris in the bid to land the European Banking Authority (EBA) this week, wasn't quite our Thierry Henry moment.
KBC became the latest bank to take a, shall we say, fresh look at how it was calculating tracker mortgage redress and come up with a different number. In KBC Bank's case the cost shot up dramatically.
The banks had better watch out. Culture is coming. In the wake of the tracker mortgage scandal, there is a growing sense of the need to fundamentally examine and change the culture at Irish banks.
There is an old saying about "don't look for something and you won't find it". Bank of Ireland has now found a further 6,000 tracker mortgage customers whom it treated unfairly and who deserve compensation. The bank wasn't looking all that hard before. Clearly something radical has happened.
We've been to Panama. And now we are taking a trip to Paradise. It doesn't look very pretty at all. The massive dump of millions of files relating to the clients of international law firm Appleby, provides a vast amount of information about the business affairs of a large variety of people - from the world's most profitable company, Apple, to actors in 'Mrs Brown's Boys'.
It seems that 16 years and many corporate controversies later, one central question in tackling white collar crime has yet to be answered. What should the role of the Garda Siochana be when it comes to investigating cases of corporate crime?
The European Central Bank decided last week to extend its multibillion euro bond buying programme for another nine months. The quantitative easing programme (QE) sees the ECB buy up around €60bn worth of government, corporate and various asset-backed bonds in the market every month.
The public's trust in banks has been "deeply shattered" by the tracker mortgage scandal, according to Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald. So what now? Well, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said it will be some time before people can trust banks again. So what will people do in the meantime?
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe gave bank chief executives a right good talking to. They will pony up compensation by Christmas and everything will be OK. Oh no. It isn't that simple.
Housing minister Eoghan Murphy delivered what many will see as welcome news at the recent Irish Planning Institute Annual Autumn conference. At it he said he would tackle the "faintly ridiculous restrictions" on using scarce land in an effective and efficient way.
It is 2003. Four of the five Academy Award nominees for Best Picture have involved film producer Harvey Weinstein - 'Gangs of New York', 'The Hours', 'Chicago' and 'The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers'.
While so much focus has been on Paschal Donohoe's Stamp Duty increase in the Budget, it wasn't the only place he was able to put his hands, quite easily, on a very large sum of money to balance the books.
As Budget day approaches we have had lots of speculation that Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe might use some tax levers to get more houses built more quickly.
Real pressure points are forming in the economy. The favourable winds that helped bring our unemployment rate down from 15pc in 2011 to below 7pc now are shifting.
There is no sign of our European partners giving up on the idea of getting global multinationals to pay more tax in Europe, most likely at the expense of Ireland's investment proposition. In a week when US President Donald Trump was sounding off about slashing American corporation tax, the more ominous signs for us were coming from the Sorbonne University in Paris, compliments of a speech given by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Sometimes in an industry, somebody stands up and calls it like it is. When they do, they cut through the hype and spin, and give everybody a dose of reality. It is informative and refreshing when it happens.
Big Phil Hogan was making all of the right noises down at the National Ploughing Championships.
Smart electricity meters are coming to Irish homes - every home in fact - by 2024. That is part of an audacious new plan announced by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) which will see ESB Networks install around 2.3 million smart meters over the next six years.
'We are in the shit now. How are we going to dig our way out of it," Michael O'Leary asked just two weeks after the 9/11 attacks of 2001. His answer was the same as it has always been. "Other companies are grounding flights, laying off staff. We are going to fly our way out of this crisis. Our solution is to get back in the air with more passengers and lower fares."
'Better an honest enemy than a fake friend' is how the old saying goes. When it comes to the global reform of Corporate Taxes, it isn't at all clear who our enemies and friends are.
British Prime Minister Theresa May greeted this week's Brexit vote victory in the House of Commons as 'historic'. The truth is somewhat different. It was widely expected to be passed anyway and the real fight of securing amendments to the Bill hasn't even begun.
Offshore wind farms finally look set to become a reality in Irish waters. News this week that ESB plans a major investment in offshore wind projects must reflect a change in government thinking on the subject of offshore wind power.
Irish banks have been quietly trying to deal with their dirty secret since 2015. It relates to the way they ripped off up to 15,000 of their customers by wrongly denying them access to tracker mortgages.
US president Donald Trump has name-checked Ireland in a list of countries with low corporation tax rates. He isn't happy about America's trade deficit with countries like Ireland. He says he is going to change all that. Should we be worried?
The rain storm that caused extensive damage to roads, bridges, homes and businesses across three counties in the north-west last week caught everybody by surprise. Nobody expected a torrent of rain and destruction that unfolded in just a few hours, not least those whose houses were flooded.
A big shopping Christmas for Newry may be on the way as sterling fell to an eight-year low against the euro during the week. As it clawed back some of its losses, when the euro broke through 92p, the British currency appeared to be perching on a new ledge before its next fall.
The first dominos of what became the financial crisis began to topple this month 10 years ago. On August 9 2007, BNP Paribas froze withdrawals from funds it held which had been hit by the American sub-prime crisis.
You have to hand it to Permanent TSB chief executive Jeremy Masding. Last week he came out and gave the most frank interview from an Irish bank executive in a very long time. Everybody got a dig - the media, Sunday newspaper columnists, the market and even the government.
We might think we are out of the woods when it comes to the fallout of the last housing crash. But there is still a day of reckoning for many people based on decisions they made over a decade ago.
Everyone was greatly exercised during the week about where the €178m to refund water charges was going to come from. The source of the funds wasn't at all obvious from reading the Summer Economic Statement by finance minister Paschal Donohoe.
We shouldn't be surprised to hear that the number of British visitors to Ireland is falling. Yet, when DAA chief executive Kevin Toland, told the European Parliament this week that numbers were "falling like a stone", it should make everyone sit up and take notice.
The State could be a big loser from Shell's heavy financial hit on the Corrib gas field. If tax losses racked up by Shell are carried over to the new owners, it will reduce the corporation tax receipts on what will be a profitable venture for some shareholders in the years ahead.
A new Taoiseach needs a new plan. That would seem to be the mantra at Government Buildings, where Leo Varadkar has been toying with a variety of policy changes. The first big signal came with the idea of finding the money to fund tax cuts for all those early risers. It isn't actually there. Then came the signal about scrapping the rainy-day fund. It hasn't started yet.
European Commission officials conducting an anti-cartel investigation raided insurance company offices and those of the industry association, Insurance Ireland, during the week.
Is the bedsit making a comeback? New Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has not ruled it out. The fact that he has not done so will be interpreted that he is in favour of re-introducing bedsits, if it is done in the right way.
Ireland is trying to have its cake and eat it, seems to be a key message from the latest European Commission report on the economy. The commission's latest post-programme surveillance report highlights a number of things the Government is either getting wrong or may be about to get wrong.
'Attainable" is the new buzz word in motor advertising. "Driving away in the Audi of your dreams is even more attainable with enhanced flexible plans to suit your needs", is how the Audi literature puts it.
It really does look like bye bye to Simon Coveney's Help-to-Buy scheme for first-time house buyers. Coveney's successor, Eoghan Murphy, didn't waste any time signalling that this particular waste of public money would be coming to an end in the autumn budget.
The machinations of the UK's exit from the European Union have left us all scratching our heads - or pulling out our hair at times. One year on from the UK referendum vote to 'Leave' the EU, the nature and timing of its future trading relationship is as clear as mud.
As D-Day approaches for the pricing of the AIB flotation, it appears demand for the stock is relatively high and so around 28pc of the State's shareholding will be sold in its IPO.
Another week and another investment for Limerick. This time it is financial services giant Northern Trust which said it plans to expand its Limerick operations, creating up to 400 jobs over the next five years.
The housing market is getting more confused than ever. Luminaries such as the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council (FAC), the OECD and outgoing finance minister Michael Noonan all waded in on the debate this week about whether there is a bubble.
As British voters go to the polls today, Irish businesses may understandably have a sense of trepidation about the result. In fact, a lot more Irish business owners are likely to stay up late tonight and watch the results come in than in previous elections.
'Every little helps' is the Tesco slogan and one that seems to apply when it comes to managing our gargantuan national debt. Currently running at around €200bn, the €3bn or so proceeds from the AIB flotation will only make a small dent in it.
The National Asset Management Agency (Nama) is heading towards its twilight years. It is ahead of its target to pay back all of the €30bn it borrowed to buy assets from the banks. It is on target to make a profit of around €2bn.
Writing in his 2013 annual report Ian Drennan, the head of the Office of Director of Corporate Enforcement, had this to say about the pending criminal actions being taken in the Anglo Irish Bank Maple 10 case:
There is nothing like the promise of big lump of cash falling into the exchequer coffers to get a good row going. With Michael Noonan expected to fire the starting gun on an IPO at AIB very soon, there is a mouth-watering prospect of the state landing a €3bn payday by selling an initial 25pc stake.
Outgoing Bank of Ireland chief executive Richie Boucher hands over the reins to Francesca McDonagh in October, with the bank in a far better state than when he took over back in 2009.
Online retail giant Amazon floated on the stock market 20 years ago this week. To say it would have made a good investment punt at the time is a gross understatement.
When the market value of Apple Inc tipped over $800bn for the first time during the week, it wasn't just good news for punters who have bought into the stock. It was also very welcome news for the group's 6,000 or so employees in Ireland. Many of them participate in an employee stock ownership programme which allows them to buy shares in the company at a 15pc market discount.
The rental crisis has developed right under the noses of the current and last governments. Political energy and focus during the crisis years was spent on picking up the pieces of the crash.
It sounded like the biggest snub to Irish beef in 20 years. Not since Russia decided to refuse beef from three counties of Ireland because of BSE in the late 1990s had there been such an affront to Irish meat exporters.
The ugly but necessary row about how much we pay our public servants looms large once again. It is necessary because getting it wrong can see billions of euro wasted through unfair and excessive pay rates.
Simon Coveney's Department of Housing played a strong card in trying to get more houses built when it announced details of over 700 State-owned sites which are to be made available to build 50,000 homes.
The debacle around the new National Maternity Hospital has sparked an enormous debate about the role of the Catholic Church or Catholic religious orders in providing maternity services. The row is unlikely to be the last about the place and role of religious orders in the area of healthcare.
The simple narrative around Theresa May's decision to call a snap British election is that she wants to crush the Labour Party so she can ram through a hard Brexit in line with most of her public rhetoric on the subject up to now.
As millions of people around the world watched the video of Dr David Dao being forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight last week, you could definitely say it had become 'a bad day at the office' for its CEO Oscar Munoz.
The water charges "dead cat" has been lifted off the road, but there is still a sizeable mess left behind to be cleaned up. Abolishing water charges, for everybody except those who use 1.7 times the average, will leave Irish Water with a €250m funding hole that will have to be plugged by additional contributions from the exchequer.
You may not have noticed it but you are living through an economic miracle - apparently. The chief economist of the Central Bank, Gabriel Fagan, introduced the country to a new economic term last week called a "Phoenix Miracle" which is how he described Ireland's rapid economic recovery since the depths of the recession.
In the aftermath of the banking crisis - yes, the one that is on track to cost taxpayers and bank customers a net €32bn - we were told the problems in the sector were "systemic". In a way it meant that everyone was to blame, so therefore nobody was to blame.
Next week, it will be exactly 10 years since RTE broadcast a television documentary I made on the property market. The programme suggested that we were in grave danger of a sharp house price crash and it examined what a financially traumatic event like that might look like.
Ireland is going to change dramatically over the next 10 to 15 years and we are not preparing for it properly. I am not talking about Brexit or the future of the single currency. Neither am I talking about the impact Donald Trump's US presidency might have on corporations and how they are taxed.
The Brexit political experiment is under way. Brexit has always been about politics and not economics. That is why the Leave campaign won despite the plethora of business people, economists and other analysts saying it would be financial madness.
Ten years ago, Ireland was on the cusp of a massive economic disaster. House prices this month in 2007 were about to fall from meteoric heights. The freefall would later spread to commercial property values and massive job losses across the economy would follow.
British Prime Minister Theresa May will trigger Article 50 on Wednesday which will begin the negotiations for the UK's exit from the EU. The negotiating game will be played out mainly in Brussels and London. The Irish Government has to ensure its voice is heard at the table.
ON Sunday night, 'Dragons' Den' returns to television screens in what will be its eighth series on RTÉ. It probably reflects the growing appetite in Ireland for learning about business and starting up your own that it is the second-longest running 'Dragons' Den' franchise in the world.
Dawn Meats is one of the biggest and most successful meat processors in Britain and Ireland.
It is definite "game on" when it comes to picking up financial services jobs after Brexit - but Ireland may not be off to as solid a start as we might have hoped.
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon may have done all of us in Ireland a big favour by putting it up to Downing Street with a second independence referendum.
There was more than a little surprise at the news that Michael Noonan is to open up part of the AIB IPO to retailer punters. Share offerings to punters can be toxic for politicians. You can have all of the "buyer beware" warnings you like, but if the stock doesn't deliver, the public often blames the Minister presiding over the flotation. It isn't clear why he felt the need to do it.
The sheer complexity of implementing the UK's decision to leave the EU was grasped on this side of the Irish Sea within days of last summer's referendum. In Ireland, most people could see right away what a hard Brexit might mean for Irish business, the economy and of course the issue of the Border.
The Government's help-to-buy scheme could end up costing double its original estimate by the time a review is completed in September - and the tens of millions involved will go to a relatively small number of developers.
As the country faces the possibility of the worst public transport dispute in many years, we have to seriously ask, what has gone wrong? The narrative of the industrial relations blame game goes something like this.
Stan McCarthy will hand over the baton of leadership at Kerry Group to Edmond Scanlon in September. Scanlon will become just the fourth chief executive in the history of the €13bn business, and the third Kerryman - three out of four isn't bad, even for Kerry.
The family dispute at the heart of the Kilkenny Design High Court action in which Greg O'Gorman is suing his mother Marian is not the first very public family business row in Ireland - and I am sure won't be the last.
The country is inching ever-closer towards a general election. Assuming there is a new leader of Fine Gael in the coming weeks, an election could be triggered very easily after that.
Few were surprised to hear that Aryzta chief executive Owen Killian has decided to step down in the summer. He had been under severe pressure from the company's shareholder base for some time on the back of profit warnings and a €450m French acquisition that seemed difficult to comprehend.
Management at AIB must be wondering just how they could have been so lucky. Executives at Green Property must be wondering how they are going to spend all that money.
The platitudes and the vagueness about exactly what will happen between Ireland and the UK after Brexit continue. It was hard to make any real sense of what was stated jointly and agreed between British prime minister Theresa May and Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
The performance of the Dow Jones seems to be the primary scorecard for the performance of a US president these days - not a good thing. As the Trump Bull Run on Wall St continued, and took the Dow Jones Index above 20,000 for the first time during the week, this "success" was seen as reflecting on Trump's early days in office.
Credit unions are preparing to ramp up their mortgage lending this year by around €400m - well, some of them are anyway. The plans to expand mortgage lending are being hatched by a number of credit unions which have identified this important market as a potential high-growth area for them.
I wonder if the Brexit unit of the Department of Finance held its own Christmas party last month. Bearing in mind that we were told by the secretary general of the department last Thursday there are only four of them working full-time on Brexit in there, it would have been a cosy event. And with lots to talk about.
I remember the first time I saw an American newspaper advertisement for cheaper health insurance based on lifestyle. The ad asked the question: "Can you run a mile in eight minutes." If you could then, basically, you would get a discount on your health insurance premium.
One might wonder about the unfortunate timing of the very good news that US pharmaceutical company IQ Pharmatek plans to create 100 jobs in Tipperary.
A big national conversation is set to kick off which is likely to turn into a big national row. It is a conversation that people have been having informally in the last few years about how what Ireland should look like in the years ahead.
It's the company that keeps on giving - to its executives that is. Another stock market flotation for Eir (formerly Eircom) and another big executive pay day looms. Company filings in Luxembourg show that senior executives and management are in line to receive payouts of up to €181m for their shares in the company when it returns to the stock market, possibly next year.
IRISH businesses are worried. Could it be the unpredictability of the Donald Trump presidency? Or are they concerned about the implications a Marine Le Pen presidency in France might have for the future of the euro? No. The real concerns of business are often domestic bread and butter issues that arise at home. This also means the Government can have a real hand in easing those...
Uncertainty is the order of the day as we begin 2017. There is uncertainty around Irish politics and whether this government will last another year; uncertainty around Brexit, around Trump, sterling, the dollar, the euro, Italian banks and further shifts to the right across Europe.
The last 12 months have been one of the most bizarre and tumultuous for business, economics and politics, when it comes to international events.
The economic landscape is going to look very different in three years' time. And when it does, we will be able to point to 2016 as the year when things really began to turn.