News Ireland daily BLOG by Donie

Tuesday 20th October 2015

Irish the biggest losers from financial crash  “Says the ECB”

Typical Irish person lost €18k between 2009 -2013 figures show, more than in Greece and Spain


In an analysis of the years between 2009 and 2013, ECB experts discovered that Ireland lost more than €18,000 per person, while Spaniards saw wealth dwindle by almost €13,000 as property in both nations plummeted.

The Irish lost more of their personal wealth than any other euro zone country in the aftermath of the financial crash while Germany and the Netherlands gained the most, fresh data from the European Central Bank shows.

In an analysis of the years between 2009 and 2013, ECB experts discovered that Ireland lost more than €18,000 per person, while Spaniards saw wealth dwindle by almost €13,000 as property in both nations plummeted.

Greeks saw their notional wealth decline by almost €17,000 for the same reason.

In the Netherlands and Germany, by contrast, the wealth per capita grew by roughly €33,000 and €19,000 respectively, due in part to a boost to financial investments over that time.

The data, which takes a snapshot before the recent economic upswing in Spain and Ireland, illustrates the stark differences between countries in the 19-country euro zone that extends from cities such as Helsinki in the north to Athens in the south.

By presenting the data in this manner, the ECB acknowledges the divergence, although there is little the central bank can do to remedy it.

Its money-printing scheme known as quantitative easing is spread out according to euro zone member countries’ relative size and not determined by their economic needs.

To fix imbalances between strong industrial nations such as Germany and countries such as Spain, experts have long pushed for a system of financial transfers or payments from rich to poor states.

Germany, which fears that this would lumber it with unmanageable costs and believes that handouts would discourage spendthrift countries from reforming, has flatly rejected the suggestion.

A separate chart published by the ECB, with data up until the start of this year, shows, however, that the situation of weaker nations may be gradually improving.

Data shows an improvement in income almost across the board in the euro zone, barring a small number of stragglers including Cyprus.

Pensioner woman (90) will not have to pay costs in satellite dish case

Anne Rudd says ‘justice done’ after court rules she need not pay €1,500 legal bill


Anne Rudd, a great grandmother from St Enda’s Road, Terenure, was summoned by Dublin City Council which had sought an order for legal costs. Following pleas from her lawyers that it would be unfair if Ms Rudd had to pay the expenses, which the council had reduced from €2,100 to €1,500, Judge John O’Neill dismissed the case.

Tom Tuite

A judge has thrown out a case against a Dublin woman (90) who faced a €1,500 legal bill for having an unauthorised satellite dish on the front of her house.

Anne Rudd, a great grandmother from St Enda’s Road, Terenure, was summonsed by Dublin City Council which had sought an order for legal costs.

Mrs Rudd’s lawyers argued it would be unfair if she had to pay the expenses, which were reduced from €2,100 to €1,500 by the council.

Judge John O’Neill dismissed the case, saying it was a substantial bill and he was not going to order her to pay costs due to exceptional circumstances.

Following the verdict, Mrs Rudd stood outside the courthouse with her daughters Anne Claxton and Teresa Davey and her son Peter Rudd and told reporters “justice has been done”.

“I have had my family around me, there are women and men who have nobody. It was an oversight,” she said.

Mrs Rudd said she was shocked by the attention she had received following the initial hearing. “I could not believe it, me, little me, Australia, England, Wales, San Diego in California, people offered things. Bunches of flowers, money was sent and I gave it to charity. In Wales a man wanted to start up a fund.”

Ms Claxton thanked the public for their good wishes as well as Judge O’Neill, the legal team and the news media.

Mrs Rudd was accused at Dublin District Court of failing to comply with an enforcement notice issued on May 28th last telling her she had to remove “the unauthorised satellite dish” along with all associated fixtures and fittings from the facade of her house under Section 154 of the Planning and Developments Acts.

James Cosgrave, a planning enforcement officer with the council, had told the court he spoke to Mrs Rudd in March and told her the dish could not be fixed to the front of her home. She was given until the end of June to move the dish.

Mr Cosgrave gave her more time to remove it but that had not been done by the time of his next inspection, on July 21st, after which proceedings commenced

Solicitor Michael Quinlan, prosecuting, said Mrs Rudd had been told then that something had to be done. The proceedings were a result of non-compliance.

Her family told the court last month that their mother would not have known what the letter pertained to but they later learned it was official and arranged to have the dish taken down.

Court proceedings had been initiated by then. Her daughters told the council last month that €1,500 could be paid.

The case resumed yesterday and this time Mrs Rudd was represented by barrister Peter Maguire (instructed by Thomas Loomes and Company solicitors). They had wanted to help, free of charge, and Ms Rudd did not seek legal aid.

Mr Maguire argued that it was unfair to ask the pensioner in receipt of €230 a week to pay a legal bill she could not afford.

He said regulations stated that in exceptional circumstances such as these, the judge has discretion in relation to making an order for costs and is not solely a “mouthpiece of the law”.

Recession’s always damages the mental health of our families,

A study shows

A report says falling incomes and unemployment place heavy strain on relationships


Prof Richard Layte (r), author of a new report on childhood in Ireland. 

The financial strain on families as a result of the recession has “hugely damaged” many parents’ and children’s mental health, a new study shows.

The findings are based on analysis of the Growing Up in Irelandstudy, which tracked the lives of almost 20,000 children between 2008 and 2011.

The latest analysis of the study shows that falling incomes and unemployment have placed a heavy strain on family relationships.

Among families under economic pressure, the risk of mothers showing clinical levels of depression jumped by 84 per cent compared with families unaffected by the downturn.

The equivalent increased risk for fathers was 61 per cent.

Parents experiencing financial distress reported more arguments and were more likely to report that they were unhappy with their relationship.

The study also provides stark evidence of how this parental stress had a much wider impact on children’s wellbeing.

Parents under stress were found to use harsher parenting styles with less warmth, the study found.

This change was true for parents across the levels of education and social class.

These worsened relationships between parents and children were linked to higher anxiety and worse conduct, as well as lower child happiness.

This, in turn, led to deterioration in conduct among children at home and poorer test results at school.

Unhappy children

One of the report’s authors, Prof Richard Layte of Trinity College Dublin, said the findings had long-term implications for young people.

“Anxious, unhappy children do worse in school, often with long-term consequences for both wealth and health,” said Prof Layte.

“By investing in children and young people, we will be developing healthier, happier and more productive adults for all our tomorrows – and saving money in the process.”

The results also show the extent to which personal income fell during the recession.

Cutting back on basics?

The proportion reporting some degree of difficulty in making ends meet doubled, rising from 31 per cent in 2008 to 61 per cent.

Almost 30 per cent of mothers reported cutting back on basics, while 8 per cent said they fell behind with their rent or mortgage.

Overall, household income fell by 16 per cent between 2008 and 2011 for families who participated in the study.

Unemployment among fathers rose from 6 per cent to almost 14 per cent.

The report also found a number of key gender differences.

For example, the effect of economic strain on a relationship was perceived to be higher among mothers.

It also recorded a relatively low level of separation or divorce among parents – at 2 per cent of parents – but Prof Layte said it was too early to draw any definitive conclusions from this.

The Irish kings of online ‘mystery shoppers’ now with $20m in their coffers


Clavis Insight was founded in 2008. Soon it will employ 300 people worldwide.

A DUBLIN COMPANY that takes the ‘mystery shopper’ concept online for the world’s biggest grocery producers has announced a major cash injection as it ramps up its international expansion.

Clavis Insight has received a $20 million (€17.6 million) investment from US venture capital firm Accel-KKR to fuel its growth in the US, Europe and China.

Garry Moroney started Clavis in 2008 and it has since expanded to almost 150 staff across offices in Dublin, Boston, London and Shanghai.

The majority are employed in its Dublin headquarters, where the company handles its main software development and data analysis.

Moroney sold his previous business, software firm Similarity Systems, to US-based Informatica in a cash deal worth nearly $55 million in 2006.

Clavis is expected to double its headcount to around 200 staff in Ireland over the next two years as part of the global push.

Online sales

The company checks how products from its clients are being sold over the internet – from their availability to how the goods are advertised on e-commerce sites like Amazon and Tesco’s virtual store.

That information can then be used to tweak the online selling process to help suppliers offload more of their products. In return, it charges up to $20,000 (€17,600) per retailer it analyses as part of its service.

Clavis’s software is already used by the world’s 10 largest manufacturers of consumer packaged goods, including Unilever, Nestlé and Mondelēz.

The company, previously known as Clavis Technology, has previously raised money from investors including Dublin venture-capital firm Delta Partners, Enterprise Ireland and millionaire Irish software entrepreneur Jim Mountjoy.

European greenhouse gas emissions drop


Greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union are down 23 percent since 1990, but the reductions are expected to slow before the EU can hit a self-imposed carbon goal. 

In a report published Tuesday, the European Environment Agency (EEA) said the EU has cut its emissions faster than previously predicted and most member states are on pace to hit their individual reduction targets.

The EU has already met its goal of cutting emissions by one-fifth by 2020, all while seeing its economy grow by 46 percent since 1990.

But its greenhouse gas reduction rate is expected to slow: By 2030, when officials have hoped to reduce emissions by 40 percent over 1990 levels, the bloc will only cut emissions by between 27 and 30 percent, according to the report.

“To achieve our longer-term goals for 2030 and 2050, a fundamental change is needed in the way we produce and use energy in Europe,” EEA Director Hans Bruyninckx said.

The report tracked country-by-country progress on greenhouse gas reductions, renewable energy goals and energy efficiency targets.

Twenty-four countries are expected to hit their carbon targets, but only 13 of the 28 EU members states are expected to meet all three goals. The report says the countries “will have to increase considerably their efforts” in order to meet longer-term environmental goals.

The EU’s emissions target is an important component of an international climate change accord the United Nations hopes to reach later this year. The EU member states, taken as a bloc, are one of the world’s largest polluters, behind only China and the United States.


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