Thursday, October 11 08:18:26
Taoiseach Enda Kenny will today preside over a crucial meeting with the body overseeing the implementation of the Croke Park agreement to consider proposals aimed at securing further savings under the deal. Mr Kenny will chair a meeting in his department at which Mr Howlin will present an assessment of potential savings across all 15 Government departments drawn up by Ministers over recent weeks. There has been speculation in recent days that the Government has signalled to union leaders that it wanted to hold discussions on some form of an extension to the current Croke Park agreement.
Asked last night whether it had indicated to unions that there might be new talks on the agreement, a spokeswoman for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform said: "No comment." Details of the proposals for escalating savings under the Croke Park agreement drawn up by various Ministers have not been made known.
However, it is understood that the Department of Health and the Department of Education have been looking at the issue of seeking staff to work additional hours. This would fall outside the scope of the existing Croke Park agreement. Details of the Government's plans on public service allowances emerged yesterday after a letter on the issue drawn up by the secretary general of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Robert Watt, was given to health service unions.
The department confirmed that it had sent similar letters to each government department. Mr Howlin last night said he favoured using a dedicated fast-track arbitration process in relation to the new proposals to eliminate allowances. The Irish Times
The receivers appointed to failed meat producer Olhausen are hopeful of attracting buyers for parts of the business, which has been in existence since 1896. Jim Hamilton and David O'Connor of BDO yesterday became joint receivers and managers of Dublin-based Olhausen, following a request from its board to Ulster Bank. The bank is understood to be owed more than E10 million. Some 160 jobs have been lost across three processing plants.
Directors and shareholders at the company include prominent accountants Pearse Farrell and Greg Sparks of RSM Farrell Grant Sparks, who invested when the families that then owned the business sold in the mid-1990s. In a statement, the receivers expressed regret about the closure, adding that they would now seek a buyer for the assets that remain at the business. The company had lately been in negotiations with two potential buyers, thought to be Larry Goodman's Irish Food Processors and Mallon Foods, but was unable to agree a deal on time for it to continue as a going concern. Ulster Bank in recent days received an offer of E1 million for the company from Monaco-based financier Michael Flacks, but that was rejected. Mr Flacks, who earlier this year led a takeover of clothing chain A-Wear, yesterday said "it was another sad day for Ireland". He had, he added, planned to expand the business but declined to comment on whether or not he remained interested in it. The Irish Times
Building contractor McCann Brothers has ceased trading, leaving E620,000 in unpaid bills and 160 jobs hanging in the balance on one State-funded project. The Seskinore, Co Tyrone-based company, best-known for its work on the E35 million Lough Erne Resort, halted operations suddenly on Monday. Directors Michael Cunningham and Liam McCann met staff to tell them they were being laid off and that the company was ceasing to trade in its current form. The company employed about 40 people directly.
McCann Brothers was working on a number of projects, including a school building in Kilkenny and a centre of excellence for Tyrone GAA at Garvaghy. Work halted on the school, at the Loreto Convent on Granges Road in Kilkenny city, on Monday morning. Sub-contractors on the site are understood to be due about E620,000 for work on the project, while there is now a question mark over the jobs of 160 people who were employed there. The Irish Times
Home loans company Start Mortgages shelled out close to E1m in 'golden handshake' payments to departing board members last year, according to accounts filed with the Companies Office. The former sub-prime lender has a reputation for being among the most aggressive mortgage firms when it comes to repossessing houses. The latest filing reveals that the loss-making lender paid out E917,000 to former directors as "compensation for loss of office" in the 12 months to the end of March. Three directors resigned from the board of the company last year, in the wake of the earlier takeover of the company by South Africa's Investec in 2010. Dermot Nutley stood down from his role as chief executive officer in December. His predecessor, David Ingram, and former chief financial officer Niall Corish, both resigned in June. The Irish Independent
Shares in Providence Resources jumped yesterday after the company said a study found that it could extract far more oil from a field off Cork than had been previously believed. The company said a technical analysis of the Barryroe oil field showed that up to 280 million barrels of oil could be taken from the field. This is far more than had been expected. Providence, which has been looking for oil around Ireland for decades, said last March that the Barryroe Field in the Celtic Sea near Kinsale could contain more than 1 billion barrels of oil. A previous report on how much of that is "recoverable" said about 16pc of them could be taken with relative ease.
Now a study by RPS Energy that modelled the recovery factor at Barryroe has indicated that somewhere between 17pc and 43pc of the reserves in place could be recovered. That would equate to around 280 million barrels. Overall, the recovery factor is estimated at around 31pc. In the North Sea, around 38pc of reserves are taken out. Providence controls some 80pc of the Barryroe Field, with the balance owned by Lansdowne Oil and Gas. Company chief executive Tony O'Reilly said news of the recovery factor was a "big moment" in oil and gas in Ireland. "What this heralds is the beginning of an oil industry here. Among the other factors that make this good news for Ireland is that it will provide security of supply and jobs. The irish Independent