The Best of the Weekend Business Papers 23 August 2020

October 19


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  • The Business Post says the state is trying to secure 2m doses of an early coronavirus vaccine
  • The Sunday Independent reports that RTE is forecasting a deficit of €36m in 2020
  • The Sunday Times says the government is planning to bring in a “short-time working scheme”
  • The Financial Times says UK shoppers have helped the UK economy “leap back to life”
  • The WSJ reports that new applications for unemployment benefits in the US rose last week






“Playing sports is an inherently risky thing to do, you know. Our children playing on trampolines is an inherently risky thing for them to be doing.”

– Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly makes an unfortunate comparison between trampolines and Covid-19.






“Government seeks access to Oxford vaccine as ‘Golfgate’ scandal rages” is the splash on this week’s paper. Aiden Corkery and Aaron Rogan report that the state is attempting to secure up to two million doses of a promising early vaccine being developed by Oxford University and the drug company AstraZenaca. The report comes amid a wave of public anger after it emerged that the former agricultural minister Dara Calleary and a host of other senior political figures attended a golfing function comprising more than 80 people, in an apparent breach of public health guidelines. The paper also reports that Brian Hayes, the politician-turned-lobbyist and chief of the Irish Banking Federation who also attended the event said he “should have walked out” of the dinner but added that he was not considering his position.

In another front page story, it’s reported that the Tánaiste was advised to warn the country’s banks not to strangle the government’s new €2bn Credit Guarantee Scheme in red tape. That’s according to speaking notes seen by the Business Post which were prepared for Leo Varadkar for his meeting with the banks last month. “I want your assurance that at this very difficult time for Irish businesses, they won’t find themselves strangled in red tape as they try to access this scheme,” the notes prepared for Varadkar read.

On page two it’s reported that the government is “playing fast and loose” with the aviation sector and risks creating a “major structural change” to the Irish economy by discouraging international travel due to Covid-19. That’s the view expressed by Eddie Wilson, chief executive at Ryanair DAC. Wilson also sounded an ominous warning saying that what was coming in the winter for the aviation sector “is going to be awful” adding that airlines would go bust and that the capacity “may never come back”.

The Vintners’ Association continues to rage at the government over its decision to keep the pubs shut, according to story by Rosanne Cooney on page six. She reports that the representative body for pubs has told the government to “forego the tea and sympathy” amid the view the pubs won’t be able to reopen anytime soon. “Pubs need cash now,” said Donal O’Keefe, CEO for the lobby group adding that 3,500 pubs around the country have been “cast adrift through no fault of their own”.

On the same page Peter O’Dwyer reports that the thousands of businesses availing of critical state covid wage supports are currently ineligible for a replacement wage subsidy scheme which comes into force on 1 September. He writes that about 15,200 employers currently availing of the temporary wage subsidy scheme, do not have a tax clearance certificate from the Revenue Commissioners needed to roll over onto the new scheme which begins next month.

In Brief

  • Primary Health Properties plans to expand its clinics in Ireland from 17 to over 50
  •  Irish jewellers have reported an “unexpected boost” in sales during lockdown
  •  Kenmare Resources is predicting higher returns for shareholders as production increases
  • Saudi business family, the Zahids, have bought up a 4% stake in Irish hotel group Dalata
  • Plans for a new Aloft hotel for Dublin Airport are in doubt due to a lack of meeting room space


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RTE has told the government that it was forecasting a deficit of €36m for 2020, according to this week’s top business story. In a confidential outlook statement prepared for government last June, the state broadcaster said Covid-19 had significantly worsened its financial position. However in a chink of light for RTE, a spokesman said that its financial position had improved in recent weeks and that its deficit for the year would come in between €10m – €20m.

Also on the front of the business pages, Sean Pollock reports that Endave, the NYSE-listed technology services provider, has acquired Dublin-based software engineering services company Comtrade Digital Services in a deal worth €60.

Hines Global Income Trust, a subsidiary of international property giant Hines, has said that the cost of closing and renovating its Montrose student accommodation in Dublin due to fire safety concerns could be $11m. Hines also expects the property to be vacant for the upcoming academic year although it said it was confident it can recoup losses over time.

In brief

  • Teeling Whiskey has struck an exclusive cask bottling deal with several large US retailers
  • Finnish digital bank Holvi has said it intends to ramp up its operations in Ireland
  • More than 40 insolvent companies are expected to enter liquidation this month
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The government is planning on bringing in a “German-style” short-term working scheme to support workers and firms through Covid-19, according to one of this week’s top stories. Stephen O’Brien reports that the scheme would see troubled firms being subsidised to put their workers on a two- or three-day week instead of laying people off. The employees would then be upskilled or retrained on the days they are not at work. The scheme resembles Germany’s “Kurzarbeit” programme which helped limit unemployment during the global financial crisis of 2008/09.

Onto the business pages and the top story is that AIB’s card processing joint venture has warned of “material uncertainty” about its future due to a €4bn exposure to airlines, tour operators and other businesses at risk of collapse due to Covid-19. First Merchant Processing, which trades in Ireland as AIB Merchant Services, also faces the threat of enforcement action by the Central Bank of Ireland due to breaches of anti-money laundering rules.

Staying with banking and Bank of Ireland is offering severance packages of up to €300k as part of a plan to trim its workforce by 1,400 over the coming years. Under the “enhanced voluntary redundancy scheme” departing staff will get four week’s pay per year of service in addition to statutory redundancy.

In brief

  • An approach to buy AA Ireland is under “active consideration”, writes Brian Carey
  • Denis O’Brien’s Radio Two Thousand has increased its shareholding in Newstalk


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Shoppers spur on post-lockdown economic lift” is the splash on this week’s FT. The paper reports that the UK economy “leapt back to life” as consumers rushed out of lockdown to start spending – attracted by government incentives to visit pubs and restaurants.

While most of our focus has been on Covid-19, Brexit remains a lurking issue that is yet to be resolved and it seems a trade deal between the EU and the UK is looking increasingly unlikely. That’s according to the EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier who said he was “disappointed, concerned and surprised” by the lack of progress displayed in discussions that took place in Brussels this week. “Too often this week, it felt as if we were going backwards, not forwards,” said Barnier.

In Companies & Markets it’s reported that tech giant Apple got even bigger last week as its valuation topped $2trn dollars for the first time. The milestone comes just two years after the company became the first trillion-dollar company and follows a doubling in its share price since March of this year.


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The Wall Street Journal reports that new applications for unemployment benefits rose last week after a series of declines. Weekly initial claims for jobless benefits rose by 135,000 to a seasonally adjusted 1.1.m for the week ended 15 August a sign, the paper says, that the labour market’s recovery is cooling.

US retailer Target reported its biggest quarterly sales surge in its 58-year history. The group’s 24% year-on-year rise in second-quarter like-for-like sales was driven by ecommerce but also supported by strong growth in stores.

Finally, as the Covid-19 pandemic continues, the paper reports on a survey of 15 major US employers that collectively employ about 2.6m people, with nearly half said they were putting in additional safety measures for when they do eventually reopen, such as redesigned workspaces and employee temperature checks.


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THE 1% PODCAST – Enda McNulty 
Listen here 


We pulled together a recap episode for you this week, featuring short clips from some of the great moments in the podcast’s fourth season. We were fortunate to have incredible leaders from across industries, disciplines, and fields share their stories and perspectives this season – and we wanted to share them with you as we wrap up Season 5 and look ahead to the sixth season.

Here are some of the guests and clips from Season 5 featured in this wrap-up episode:

+ Suzanne Dempsey (Deputy CEO and the Director of Nursing at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin) speaks openly about the challenges of leading in extraordinary times.

+ Bryan Burnstein (Director of Performance Science for Kitman Labs, formerly Head of Performance Science at Cirque de Soleil) gives an up-close account at what some of the best teams are doing to support their athletes and how to build a high-performance culture.
+ Kingsley Aikins (CEO of The Networking Institute) talks about his life’s work bringing people together regardless of geographical location under the one umbrella of promoting Irish interests.
+ Ade McCormack (Technologist & Author) in this session, we explore the importance of attention in respect to individual performance and the challenges faced in these increasingly distracting times. We also explore the implications of this on organisational performance.
+ Enda McNulty (All Star, leading performance coach and motivational speaker) we deep dive into leadership, team performance, and mental toughness and his work with some of the Irelands leading athletes and organisations.
We’re hard at work planning Season 6 which will kick off in September.





All views are strictly my own brief interpretation of the articles in the various publications and not intended to be comprehensive. 
Please feel free to forward to friends or colleagues and get in touch if you wish to add contacts to the mailing list.
Have a good week. 



Shay Dalton 
Managing Director – Lincoln Recruitment Specialists




T: +353 1 661 0444/



A: 5 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin 2




© 2020 All Rights Reserved – Lincoln Recruitment Specialists

About the Author

Shay Dalton

Shay Dalton

Managing Director 16498583

Shay Dalton is the Managing Director of Lincoln Recruitment Group. Shay is a qualified ACCA Accountant with over 20 years’ experience specialising in the placement of senior positions across a broad spectrum of Accountancy and Finance positions within the industrial and financial services sectors. Having been involved in the establishment of some of the most respected financial recruitment brands in the Irish market, Shay subsequently set up Lincoln Recruitment Specialists in 2008. He also hold’s an MSc in Organisational Management and is a member of BPS, qualified to conduct and interpret psychometric testing as well an EQi testing.

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