|“Cabinet to ease some Covid-19 restrictions amid growing pressure” is the splash on this week’s paper. According to Michael Brennan and Peter O’Dwyer’s story ministers are to “cautiously speed up” the easing of restrictions such as the current 5km travel limit. However, they write that the cabinet will “continue to resist” pressure from the business community to relax the two-metre social distancing rule.Also on the front page it’s reported that Finance Minister Paschal Donohue has warned Insurance Ireland that the response of some of its members to the Covid-19 pandemic risked causing “irreparable damage” to the industry’s reputation. Donohue also said that the actions of insurers during the public health crisis could influence government policy to the sector adding that he “fundamentally disagreed” with insurers’ attempts to reject business interruption policy claims.
The results of the paper’s latest opinion poll are page two and they show that the public are split down the middle on whether to extend Covid-19 payments. 44% of respondents to the Red C poll say that wage subsidy is costing too much and should be wound down while 51% say it is essential and should be kept in place until the end of the year.
Pat McDonagh, the boss of Supermacs, is pictured alongside a related story on page three. Under the headline “McDonagh stands by comment that payment is too high for workers on shorter hours” he defends remarks he made last week where he likened the €350 a week payment to winning the lotto. In the piece, McDonagh claims he was referring to the “GAA lotto” and not the national lottery.
Turning to the media industry and Virgin Media is planning to create a new TV studio near the city centre according to a report by Killian Woods on page six. The new build is part of the Virgin’s move from its current home in Eastpoint Business Park to the old UTV base near the 3Arena.
Niall McGarry, founder of embattled digital publisher Maximum Media is pictured on page seven under the headline “McGarry tells High Court: I am the driving force of Maximum Media”. It comes as Maximum came before the courts as part of going into examinership which also revealed that in addition to owing €6.2m to Beach Point Capital, Maximum also owes €460,000 in unpaid taxes and €180,000 in unpaid rents.
Some economic news and in an analysis piece Peter O’Dwyer writes about separate reports compiled by the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council and ESRI, both of which forecast major long-term economic challenges due to Covid-19. “Both sets of researchers are clear in their advice: austerity will be needed,” reports O’Dwyer. He adds, however, that both reports “are equally clear that spending big now to support the economy will limit the degree to which austerity will be required.”
- Over a fifth of adults plan to cocoon for the foreseeable future according a survey by iReach
- Meagher’s Pharmacy Group has launched an online video consultation service
- The Central Bank reported a financial profit of €2.56bn for last year