Graph of the Week
The Central Bank of Ireland published a report on the Irish residential property market and suggested that homes were presently undervalued by between 12-26%. There’s still no sign of the supporting data despite a request on the day the report was published so the mystery will remain as to how The Economist stated six months ago that our residential property was still over-valued by reference to incomes and rent whereas the Bank says we’re significantly undervalued.
Quote of the Week
“As the Deputy is aware, it is not generally the policy of the Government to interfere in the housing market. Let it find its own level. I am aware of the announcement by the Central Bank. On the banking sector, the general flatness of the indigenous economy and movement in the construction sector generally and the housing market in particular, the Government has reduced stamp duty on all commercial property transfers from 6% to 2%, removed capital gains tax on property held for seven years, raised mortgage interest relief from 15% to 25% for first-time buyers in 2012 which could yield savings of €5,000 per couple and has allowed mortgage interest relief for the next seven years, if residential property is bought in 2012. From speaking to auctioneers, these moves have resulted in some movement but obviously not as strong as one would like.” An Taoiseach Enda Kenny speaking in the Dail on 1st May 2012, again seemingly oblivious to the contradiction in what he’s saying – here, that the Government doesn’t interfere in the housing market and then cataloguing exactly how it is interfering on a scale not seen for almost a decade.
“Where is Northern Ireland and where am I?” one of the dramatis personae in the Sean Quinn saga, a Mr Dmytro Zaitsev who wasn’t impressed when IBRC tried to serve him in Kiev, Ukraine with an Order issued by Belfast’s High Court. Allegedly speaking outside a Kiev court he gave us a taste of the difficulties that IBRC will have in collecting on its loans to Sean Quinn.
Rediscovered (fair-weather?) friendship of the Week
Last July 2011, Minister Noonan announced the establishment of our new Fiscal Advisory Council, an independent economics group which will let us know if the Government is meeting its targets. It will also recommend economic policy and did just that in October 2011 when it recommended the Government front-load the austerity and make a bigger adjustment to the Budget in 2012. The Government acknowledged the recommendation and thanked the Council for it and …. completely ignored it! Fast forward six months and Minister Noonan was speaking to reporters in Brussels during the week about the outcome of the forthcoming Fiscal Compact referendum and according to RTE “he said that if growth or confidence in the economy were lowered by a No vote then the Government would be advised both by the Fiscal Council and the external EU-IMF authorities to “speed up the progress of adjustment”” Seems like the Fiscal Advisory Council might be listened to after all!
Table of the Week
Not a bad auld recession for some at our State-owned banks with confirmation during the week that 22 staff earned over €300,000 last year at AIB/EBS, Permanent TSB and IBRC – it might be more when you add in Irish Life which we 100% own and Bank of Ireland where our shareholding is down to 15%.
Unmasking of the Week
One of the most closely watched lots at Thursday’s Allsop Space auction was Lot 74, an incomplete housing estate in Ballyjamesduff, County Cavan where three houses plus four acres were up for grabs with a maximum reserve of €40,000. After brisk bidding, the lot was sold for €122,500 and Allsop Space report that the buyer was a Northern Ireland builder who wished to remain anonymous. Along came RTE whose news report apparently identifies the bidder above. Reminds you of last year when RTE reported an attack on a Garda informant and broadcast video of the man’s home and personal details including his name whilst at the same time broadcasting a separate report of a missing prisoner who absconded from a hospital and appealed for help with his recapture, with the only information given – “a man in his 20s”.
Word of the Week
“Surreptitious” – speaking of RTE, the investigation by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) into the RTE Prime Time Investigates programme “Mission to Prey” which made serious allegations about a County Galway priest, has now been published. It finds that RTE producer guidelines with respect to surreptitious filming had not been followed; indeed RTE staff claimed that secretly filming the priest from a van parked outside his church and mingling with parents and filming at a Holy Communion did not constitute “surreptitious filming” This is what the Investigating Officer Anne Carragher who was drafted in by the BAI had to say about surreptitious filming of the priest.