Friday, August 31 08:27:29
Plans to start installing domestic water meters by the end this year are looking increasingly remote because of a lack of information on the location of household water supply points. Water meters cannot be installed until the location and number of household stopcocks has been determined. Tenders for the supply of meters have yet to be advertised.
Senior water industry sources now say it would be inconceivable that universal metering could be in place by 2014, the date by which the Government has committed to charging for water. The sources say it will now be 2016, at the earliest, before national metering could be achieved. In addition, they warn the upfront installation of meters by the Government target date of 2014, would be prohibitively expensive and could result in households being charged more than if a flat charge were used initially.
Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan said last April the installation of water metres would begin before the end of this year and would be completed by 2014.The Government has also said it will not charge for water until meters have been installed nationally. A pilot survey to establish the number and location of stopcocks in three local authority areas is set to begin in October. The Irish Times
Irish web company WhatClinic. com has secured a E2 million investment from Delta Partners, The Irish Times has learned. This will enable it to begin hiring an additional 30 staff to bring its staff headcount to 50 and to launch a Portuguese language website that will target the booming Brazilian market. Meanwhile, Delta expects to invest another E40 million in about 15 Irish companies over the next year or so from two funds it has raised.
Delta has acquired a minority stake in the business but neither party would reveal what value it places on the technology group. WhatClinic.comfounder Caelen King said this marked the first time an institutional investor had taken a stake in the company, which provides information and reviews on a range of healthcare clinics in 55 countries.
"We received lots of interest but Delta had the deepest pockets and the largest reach," Mr King said. "They also have a good knowledge of the industry and have invested in similar consumer brands." He added that the business was profitable and the investment would allow it to expand more quickly and hire across three areas - engineering, sales and marketing, and data entry. Commenting on the investment, Maurice Roche, a general partner with Delta, said: "We think this is a company that can be a category leader for elective private healthcare treatments." The Irish Times
Consumers have spent more than E93 million on Saorview-approved television sets over the past 18 months, according to figures compiled by retail research firm Growth for Knowledge. In June, six out of 10 televisions sold in Ireland were Saorview-approved, while sales of Saorview-approved sets during the month came to 14,500, up 12 per cent on May.
The beleaguered television retail market as a whole performed relatively well in June as consumers purchased large-screen HD sets ahead of the Euro 2012 football tournament. About 183,000 Saorview-approved televisions sets were sold in the 18 months from January 2011 to June 2012, while 433,500 MPEG 4 TVs - which can get Saorview, but are unable to access RTE's Aertel Digital service - were also sold in the same period.
However, Mary Curtis, director of digital switchover for RTE, said it was likely most of the purchases to date had been made by householders who already had access to cable or satellite and were not in the switchover campaign's "core" target group.
Saorview, the RTE unit charged with the responsibility of rolling out free-to-air digital terrestrial television (DTT), estimates that as of May, about 350,000 homes still needed to take action before the Europe-wide analogue television switch-off date of October 24th. The Irish Times
The new chief economist at the Central Bank says some mortgage debt should be forgiven and added all those owning bonds in banks should be burned in future. A property tax could have helped slow down the bubble, according to Central Bank economic Lars Frissel. The Swede was making his first public speech since taking up his role in Dublin in June.
In a wide-ranging speech on the causes and possible solutions to the financial crisis, Mr Frissel said that with the State cash-strapped and continuing to run a primary deficit, it would take a recovery in exports and a stepping-up of consumer demand to fuel growth.
Mortgage forgiveness should be part of the solution to getting consumers spending again. "Forgiveness should be there, absolutely. It's a tricky balance but it should have a role," he said. It's the most unqualified support any senior official has given to the idea that banks will write off the debts of borrowers who cannot or will not repay home loans.
Mr Frissel said he was optimistic of a recovery in the Irish economy, including some recovery in the housing market. A boost to consumer confidence and better flow of credit would drive an economic recovery, further boosting confidence. The Irish Independent