The Best of the Weekend Business Papers 31 May 2020

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THE 1% PODCAST – Suzanne Dempsey
Hi All, 
While every profession is facing unprecedented challenges, it is perhaps the medical profession that is under the most pressure. Pressure that raises our interest in such leaders and poses the question – How do we lead in these extraordinary times? To answer this and discuss leading through adversity, it was a pleasure to talk to Suzanne Dempsey, the Deputy CEO and the Director of Nursing at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin. 
  • The Business Post says the government plans to speed up the easing of Covid-19 restrictions
  • The Sunday Independent reports that Covid-19 travel limits will be scrapped from 29 June
  • The Sunday Times says the government faces legal hurdles to stop businesses being evicted
  • The Financial Times reports that Renault is axing 14,600 jobs in a €2bn cost savings plan
  • The Wall Street Journal says the pace of workers being laid off in the US appears to be slowing


“We’re having a bit of an earthquake, we’re fine.”

– Prime minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern proves unshakeable as an earthquake interrupts a live TV interview






“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.”

In Brief

  • 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
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Like the Business Post, the Sunday Independent leads with the news that the government is considering accelerating the reopening of the country including scrapping limits on how far people can travel from their home. The paper also says that museums, galleries and hairdressers will be allowed to reopen by the end of June.Leading the business pages is news of a new survey of Irish businesses by representative body ISME which finds that almost half of firms believe they will be out of business within six months if the current situation continues. ISME wants the government to provide an average grant of about €20,000 to every Irish SME, a rescue programme that would cost the Exchequer over €3bn.

As employers grapple with the reality of reopening in a time of Covid-19 a new report has found that a quarter of them do not have the appropriate Covid response plan in place. The findings are part of a survey of 1,000 employers by the Health & Safety Authority.

On the same page, Ferghal O’Connor reports that Magnet Networks is launching a 20MBS “Broadband Anywhere” package which is available virtually anywhere in the country. The offer, which will be delivered via 4G technology, is targeted at remote workers struggling with poor internet connections.

In Brief

  • Investec spent €41m restructuring its Irish branch due to Brexit
  • Despite Covid-19, two-thirds of firms are still considering awarding “merit-based” pay rises
  • Shannon Airport is seeking a financial support package from the government
  • Couture shoe brand Jimmy Choo is to open one of its outlets at Kildare Village
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“State faces legal hurdle on evictions and rent holidays” is the headline on this week’s top business story. As the economic damage caused by Covid-19 becomes clearer the paper reports that the attorney general has warned the government that it faces “significant legal hurdles” if it attempts to stop businesses from being evicted over unpaid rent.As the row with FBD over business interruption insurance payouts heads to the courts, Niall Brady reports that cost of FBD losing the case could be less than €30m. That’s according to the insurance company’s stockbroker, Goodbody, which is making the clever, if somewhat thin argument that any payouts would have to be based on the diminished levels of trade that could have been expected if publicans had stayed open during the pandemic.

Cairn Homes, the quoted housebuilder, has said it is responding to changing buyer preferences by providing garden rooms that can double as home offices at some of its developments. It comes as the builder says buyers now want houses with “work-from-home” options.

Banks and state agencies have had to pay more than €600m to keep money at the Central Bank of Ireland since 2014, according to the Central Bank’s annual report. It comes as the cutting of deposit rates to minus 0.5pc in September 2019 has “undermined” bank profitability.

In Brief

  • Revenue will not reveal which firms availed of the Covid wage subsidy scheme until it is over
  • Urban transport specialist GreenAer has seen a 300% increase in inquiries for e-bikes
  • Irish gifting start-up &Open plans to raise up to €7m in a funding round later this year
  • Goodbody Stockbrokers says consumer spending is up 23% from its lowest point to mid-May
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The FT reports that Renault plans to cut 14,600 jobs, shrink production and restructure some of its factories as it looks to slash €2bn in costs amid falling demand. Renault said it was embarking on discussions with unions to repurpose plants in France, some of which could stop making cars altogether.
One for motorsports fans, and the owners of the Williams Formula One racing team is considering a sale following disappointing performances on the track and losses of £17m last year. The company said it had not as yet received any offers.
Dollar stores have emerged as winners from the coronavirus crisis after US authorities allowed tens of thousands of the stores to stay open during the lockdown. Quarterly like-for-like sales at Dollar General, which operates over 16,000 stores in the US, were up by 22%.


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The pace of layoffs in the US related to the coronavirus pandemic appears to be slowing according to the WSJ. Initial claims for unemployment benefit declined to a seasonally adjusted 2.1m, down from 2.4m the previous week. Meanwhile, the number of workers receiving jobless payments was down 3.9m from the prior week.

Ecommerce giant Amazon has said it intends to keep most of the US jobs it added to meet demand in March and April to cope the surge in online shopping during the pandemic. The company said it was giving 125,000 of the 175,000 temporary workers it hired during the period the option to stay on full time.

Finally, Elon Musk’s SpaceX and NASA blasted two astronauts into space as part of mission to reach the International Space Station. It was the first human launch from US soil in nearly a decade and marked a new partnership between industry and government aimed at revitalizing the country’s space ambitions. “This is hopefully the first step toward a civilization on Mars”, said Musk.

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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.
Enjoy the Bank Holiday weekend. 


Shay Dalton 
Managing Director – Lincoln Recruitment
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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