Monday, February 25 08:33:19
The latest Business Monitor survey from cross-border trade group InterTradeIreland shows 79pc of companies reported flat or decreasing sales over the festive period, compared to the same time in 2011.
According to the agency, growth was confined mainly to manufacturing and business services companies with "large year-on-year increases in the number of (these) companies reporting sales growth".
Manufacturing and business services companies are also optimistic about the year ahead and expect to increase sales and employee numbers. The Irish Independent
The Revenue Commissioners wrote off 20 per cent of unpaid tax from tax defaulters last year on the basis that they could not afford to pay the full amount.
New figures show that of the E70 million owed by tax defaulters up to September of last year, some E43 million was either paid or subject to "phased payment" agreements.
However, the Revenue wrote off E14.5 million on the ground of inability to pay, while a further E12 million was referred for "collection enforcement proceedings" so there is no guarantee it will all be collected.
The total amount of unpaid tax for 2012 is likely to be significantly higher as it does not include settlements for the final quarter of the year.
These are expected to be published shortly.
The amount of unpaid tax written off last year is a significant increase on 2011, when the equivalent for three-quarters of the year was some E6.5 million.
Until recently tax defaulters were able to avoid having their details published if they refused to either agree liability or pay settlements.
This loophole was closed off through legislation enacted two years ago. The Irish Times
The ongoing recovery in city property markets combined with a bottleneck in the supply of family-sized homes means deposits are being put down in advance of construction for more than 100 new homes worth E23m in five developments in the greater Dublin area.
Deposits of E5,000 are being put on homes that are selling for between E200,000 and E400,000. The trend follows a period since 2008 in which almost no new homes were sold.
Estate agents said the revival of advance sales is down to a shortage of family-sized properties close to city areas caused, in part, by negative equity.
The latter is preventing those who bought in the boom from selling and preventing second-hand property coming to market. The revival of advance sales also coincides with the publication today of a market sentiment study by Daft.ie showing that, for the first time since the crash, more than half of those surveyed (59pc) believed property prices presented good value. The Irish Independent
Ratings agency Moody's on Friday cut Britain's rating to AA1, citing weak growth and further stagnation in the economy.
That decision sent sterling to a two-year low in late currency trading in New York, with the pound falling to E1.149, while it also fell precipitously against the dollar.
While the downgrade is primarily a political problem for UK chancellor George Osborne, it is expected to cause huge difficulty for Irish business.
The fall in sterling - it has lost about 10c against the euro in the past six months - shows no sign of abating, with several analysts forecasting the pound to eventually hit parity with the euro.
Gerard Lane, an equity strategist at Shore Capital in Liverpool, suggested the pound would continued to weaken.
"Sterling needs to fall to parity versus the euro and $1.35 to arrive at a 'fair' value . . . in order to rebalance the UK economy . . . and give our exporters a chance to grow," he said. The Irish Independent