Friday, September 14 08:15:08
Higher fuel prices and more expensive clothes led to an increase in the cost of living last month, according to the Central Statistics Office. The latest inflation figures show consumer prices, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, were 2 per cent higher last month compared with August 2011. Consumer prices increased by 0.6 per cent in August, compared to a rise of 0.2 per cent recorded in the same month last year, according to the figures published yesterday.
The most significant monthly changes saw clothing and footwear prices increase 6.6 per cent, transport rise 1.6 per cent, and furnishings, household equipment and household maintenance go up 0.7 per cent. There was a fall for housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, which decreased by 0.5 per cent due to lower mortgage interest repayments. However, this was partially offset by a rise in home heating oil.
The most notable price changes in the year were increases in education (+9.6 per cent), transport (+8.3 per cent), miscellaneous goods and services (+5.4 per cent) and alcoholic beverages and tobacco (+3.3 per cent). Transport prices were up mainly due to an increase in fuel prices and airfares, while the price of education was higher due to increased third-level costs. However, prices fell for furnishings, household equipment and routine household maintenance (-2.3 per cent), communications (-2.0 per cent) and recreation and culture (-1.4 per cent). The Irish Times
Previously undisclosed transfers of a $45 million debt associated with a Kiev shopping centre once owned by bankrupt billionaire Sean Quinn point to a "serious misuse" of High Court processes, a judge has said. In the High Court in Belfast yesterday, Mr Justice Bernard McCloskey refused a bid by British Virgin Islands-registered company Lyndhurst Developments to appeal his earlier ruling, which had returned control of the loan to the former Anglo Irish Bank, declaring that the firm seemed to have had no interest for the last nine months. Further assignments of the debt from Lyndhurst to Ukrainian companies Zenith and Elegant Invest appear to have taken place in that period, the court heard.
Lawyers for the rebranded Irish Bank Resolution Corporation argued that the transfers amounted to further attempts to place the multi-million pound asset beyond its reach. They also claimed that the Northern Ireland High Court may have been seriously misled if the assignment took place last December. Proceedings took place this year on the assumption Lyndhurst still held the rights to the debt owed by the shopping mall's owners, Univermag. Mr Justice McCloskey pointed out that the new evidence was not available when he delivered his earlier judgment in May. He repeated his finding that those responsible for the loan assignment were taking part in "an orchestrated, elaborate and illicit charade". The Irish Times
Property developer Ray Grehan sold a multi-million pound apartment in one of London's most expensive buildings for less than its value before he was declared bankrupt in a bid to put it beyond reach of creditors, a London court has been told. The British justice secretary has given bankruptcy trustees permission to pursue Mr Grehan - who was bankrupted in Britain - over the Knightsbridge Hyde Park One property "on the basis that it constitutes a transaction at an undervalue".
Mr Grehan and his estranged wife, Geraldine, are being separately sued by the National Asset Management Agency, which believes he has breached section 423 of the UK Insolvency Act, which bars attempts to defraud creditors. However, Nama yesterday sought unsuccessfully to have a case due to be heard in October against the estranged couple postponed because of delays in getting documents from her. The "net proceeds" of the sale of the Hyde Park One apartment in Knightsbridge, which was bought by Mr Grehan for £3.7 million in 2007, must be returned to his estate, according to Nama solicitor Andrew Bartlett.
Last November, Mr Grehan, one of Ireland's most high-profile developers before he defaulted on his loans, was ordered to pay back E300 million by the High Court in Dublin. Nama is also seeking to have a leasing agreement on Apartment B.04.3, One Hyde Park, 100 Knightsbridge, made between Mr Grehan and a company called Postlake, in August 2010, set aside. "There has not yet been sufficient disclosure of documents in the proceedings and further documents need to be disclosed by Geraldine Grehan and the trustees, some of which are in the hands of third parties," Mr Bartlett said. The Irish Times
ONE of the country's top economic think-tanks said more austerity is needed in the years ahead if the Government wants to be confident of meeting its targets. The independent Irish Fiscal Advisory Council, which was set up at the troika's behest to offer independent analysis of the Government's policies, said Finance Minister Michael Noonan should find an extra E1.9bn in taxes or cuts in 2014 and 2015 because the economic situation is so fragile. That would force Mr Noonan to find E10.5bn in cuts and taxes in each of the following three Budgets rather than the E8.6bn earmarked under current plans to meet the country's commitments to its bailout lenders.
Additional austerity would put Ireland's public finances on a sustainable footing and provide "an insurance policy" for future years should the recovery be slower than expected, said council chairman John McHale. The Government plans to find E3.5bn in tax and spending cuts this year, but wants milder Budgets in the following years as the economy picks up speed and an election approaches. The council says the Government has met its targets so far, but cautioned that the situation overseas and at home makes it exceptionally difficult to predict, so some sort of buffer needs to be built into calculations.
"It is with great care and regret", that we make the suggestion, Prof McHale said. The Irish Independent
A joint venture between Ireland's biggest construction firm, Sisk, and Limerick-based Roadbridge is preparing to launch a E50m-plus legal action against the Polish national roads authority. Last week, the venture, called SRB, completed one of three motorway contracts it was awarded in 2010. However, it has also just terminated its involvement in the other two schemes. One of those motorways is understood to be 70pc completed and the other nearly half finished.
The joint venture will seek the damages against the roads authority, called GDDKiA, following major financial disagreements. SRB is also seeking an additional E90m in payments from the roads authority in relation to the roughly 30km stretch of motorway it completed last week. That figure represents price variations that arose during the course of the contract. SRB will pursue that money through a normal contract-related process. The Irish Independent