Thursday, October 18 08:17:49
The Government has announced that the E450 million credit guarantee scheme for small businesses will begin operating from next Wednesday. The scheme, aimed at ensuring some 5,600 businesses can avail of credit lines, is one of the main initiatives in the Coalition's action plan for jobs. Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the credit guarantee scheme would be essential as part of the Government's "mission of getting Ireland working again". The action plan for jobs has promised to implement 270 specific measures in 2012 to promote job creation in the Irish economy. The Government also undertook to publish quarterly reports on what has been achieved.
A press conference yesterday, also attended by Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton, heard that all but nine of the 67 actions for the third quarter of 2012 had been achieved. It also heard that the small number of targets missed in previous quarters had been met. As well as the credit guarantee scheme, the Government also said its Microfinance Fund has been in operation since October 1st. The fund lends sums of up to E25,000 to businesses with 10 employees or fewer, which have had difficulty accessing credit from banks.
Both measures are aimed at addressing complaints from small and medium business that they are encountering substantial difficulties in obtaining credit. Other targets achieved included the setting-up of new technology centres in cloud computing; learning applications and financial services; new legislation for wage-setting agreements in certain industries; and "Smart Futures", an initiative to encourage young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and maths. The Irish Times
The prospect of an early debt relief deal is receding as German chancellor Angela Merkel resists pressure to escalate her response to the European banking crisis. As EU leaders gather in Brussels this evening for their first summit since the summer, Dr Merkel insists that the development of a new euro zone banking supervisor within the European Central Bank must take priority. The summit comes amid claims of German foot-dragging over new powers for the ECB to oversee banks. These are a precondition for the rescue of institutions such as AIB and Bank of Ireland by the European Stability Mechanism bailout fund.
A senior German official in Berlin said yesterday that the Irish banks' problems occurred when they were supposed to be regulated by the Government. "It is simply not on that everyone tries to slip out of their responsibilities that they carried in the past." German officials said it was not their problem if Dublin had created expectations - "illusions" they termed them - around the speed at which the banking problem could be resolved and they noted that the June agreement contained no deadline.
Although the leaders will instruct finance ministers to settle criteria to guide any bank recapitalisations by the bailout fund, they will not set any deadline nor will they set parameters for any such deals. A summit communique is silent on whether the fund should take responsibility for historic banking debts. This issue is unlikely to be dealt with at the summit. The communique says, however, that guidelines for bailout fund rescues should be drawn up "in full respect" of the leaders' commitment in June to break the link between bank and sovereign debt. The Irish Times
Sean Quinn jnr will learn tomorrow whether he faces a further period of detention in prison. This follows a Supreme Court ruling that the High Court was entitled to jail him for three months over his involvement in a controversial $500,000 (E381,000) payment to a Ukrainian woman. The three-month period expires tomorrow but the Supreme Court said yesterday Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), formerly Anglo Irish Bank, is free to apply to jail Mr Quinn jnr until such time as he purges his contempt over the August 2011 payment to Larissa Puga, general director of Quinn Properties Ukraine, on the eve of its takeover by the bank. It was previously indicated that he could purge his contempt if he paid that sum to the bank.
In the High Court tomorrow, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne is due to review developments since she made orders on July 20th last jailing Mr Quinn. She also made an order jailing his cousin Peter Darragh Quinn, but as he did not attend court and has remained at his home in Northern Ireland since, that order remains unexecuted. The judge said in July she would not jail Sean Quinn snr at that stage to leave him free to take steps to reverse the asset-stripping scheme. The bank could apply tomorrow to jail Mr Quinn snr, Mr Quinn jnr was jailed following the finding of contempt over the Puga payment and over non-compliance with some 30 coercive orders made against all three Quinns. The 30 orders were aimed at reversing a range of measures designed to strip up to $430 million in assets from the Quinns' international property group to put them beyond the reach of IBRC, which is pursuing the Quinn family over E2.8 billion in loans. The Irish Times
The foreign property companies at the centre of a probe into alleged leaks from NAMA are able to track the emails and their movements within the companies' electronic mail systems, the Irish Independent understands. The preservation of emails is crucial for any investigation either by the National Asset Management Agency or the gardai. The companies which are alleged to have received emails are based overseas, which would have made it difficult to compel them to provide documentary evidence.
A NAMA source said the email trail allows investigators to determine how the information came into their possession and how it was shared within their business. Officials in NAMA believe that former executive Enda Farrell "cherry-picked" what information to send to whom, depending on what he believed would be of most interest. NAMA chiefs face an unprecedented grilling next week from TDs over the Enda Farrell case and other issues dogging the agency. The Irish Independent
NAMA has secured a mortgage over the Mount Carmel Private hospital in Dublin. The clinic is controlled by developer Gerry Conlon -one of the Maple 10. The country's biggest public hospital St James's in Dublin had been in talks with Mount Carmel about a possible takover of the luxury medical facility. However documents seen by the Irish Independent show that NAMA secured a charge over the Dublin hospital on September 19 - just two weeks after news of the talks broke.
The NAMA mortgage means the state agency is now first in line to be paid if the hospital is sold, and more importantly it means ownership of the hospital cannot be transferred without NAMA's consent The hospital in the Dublin suburb of Churchtown is a full service medical facility but is best known to many as the last private maternity clinic in the country. During the boom it benefited from an unprecedented demand from well-heeled expectant mothers who opted out of the state maternity system in favour of expensive private care. The Irish Independent