Wednesday, October 31 08:12:44
The State's communications regulator signalled yesterday that it intends controlling postal costs to ensure their affordability. The Commission for Communications Regulation (Comreg) yesterday published a statement outlining its strategy for overseeing the postal service between now and 2014. The statement warns that all postal prices must be affordable in order to ensure that all customers can use the service. It also says that charges have to reflect the actual cost of providing the service and have to be transparent. State-owned An Post recently asked Comreg to allow it increase the cost of stamps.
The company did not specify an amount, but reports indicate that the standard cost may rise to 65 cent from 55 cent. Comreg has yet to rule one way or the other on the State company's request. An Post's response to Comreg's strategy document, which is separate from its request for a price rise, calls for "appropriate" increases. The company published details earlier this year of plans to cut 1,500 jobs between now and the year 2016.
Its response, made to Comreg last October, says it will cut 1,500 "full-time equivalents". That terms indicates that it may not necessarily reduce numbers by 1,500, but could make savings through other means, including over time cuts or reducing part-time hours. However, a company spokesman said yesterday that "1,500 full-time equivalents will still be very close to 1,500 jobs". The Irish Times
Fingleton may have been spendthrift with Irish Nationwide's big customers, but he was penny-pinchingly tight with staff When Michael Fingleton stepped down as chief executive of Irish Nationwide at the end of April 2009, the small group that could loosely be described as his inner circle gathered around him in the seventh-floor boardroom of the building society's Grand Parade head office to send him off. It was awkward at first; the circumstances of his departure hardly merited a celebration.
He had succumbed to months of political pressure to leave over the controversial E1 million bonus he received in 2008, paid shortly after Irish Nationwide and the rest of the Irish banking system were saved by the Government with an unprecedented guarantee in the name of the Irish State. There were also heavy losses coming down the track, particularly on Irish Nationwide's E9 billion commercial property loans, mostly on land and development.
Proceedings kicked off with Stan Purcell, Fingleton's long-serving second-in-command, saying a few words; they were more factual than complimentary, telling the select gathering how Fingleton had run the building society since the early 1970s and wishing him the best for the future. But as the beer, brandy and whiskey flowed for the few that remained on in the boardroom that evening, Fingleton started to warm up, answering questions about his best deal in banking, those who had influenced him and the famous people he had met. The Irish Times
Efforts by Aer Lingus to reduce its capital reserves so it can pay future dividends have been put on ice again at the High Court. The airline has been attempting to reduce its capital reserves by E500m since the summer. Such a change has to first secure shareholder approval and then be cleared by the High Court. But High Court Judge Roderick Murphy refused to sanction the move in July unless Aer Lingus made a provision for possible legal claims in relation to a E700m-plus deficit at a pension scheme designed to serve thousands of former and current employees at the airline and the Dublin Airport Authority.
With the pension deficit issue still unresolved and Aer Lingus staff preparing for industrial action in three weeks' time, it was agreed in court that the capital reserves matter be put back until December 11. Mr Justice Murphy said the shortfalls in the general and pilots' pension schemes appeared to constitute a contingent future claim against Aer Lingus. The proposed reduction in the airline's capital reserves from almost E860m to about E360m was "substantially below" the level of the pension funds shortfall, he said. While Aer Lingus was entitled to seek a reduction in capital, the matter must be addressed in the context of Section 73 of the Companies Act dealing with entitlements of creditors, Mr Justice Murphy said. The Irish Independent
The Government has been told it will get a one-off bank debt deal -- but has to come up with a way to show our case is unique in the EU. Hardline German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble signalled his government was positively disposed towards Ireland getting relief on our crippling debt burden. But the Government, and particularly Finance Minister Michael Noonan, has to devise a way to get the money so that other countries can't use our case as a precedent. The economy got another major vote of confidence when Mr Schaeuble insisted the country won't need a second bailout -- and will get a bank debt deal. Following a meeting in Dublin with Mr Noonan, Mr Schaeuble reiterated German Chancellor Angela Merkel's statement that Ireland was a "special case" for a bank debt deal. The government side was satisfied Germany would agree to such a deal provided it was unique and didn't open the door for another country. The Irish Independent