Aer Lingus - A done deal?

Let's assume the sale of Aer Lingus goes ahead and let's leave aside all the rights and wrongs of the sale to ask just who will get the shares when they are distributed.


Forecasting follies

The domestic property market continues to soar, despite rising interest rates. Although double-digit increases in house prices have been common for years, some of the prices being reported for sales in Dublin at present are jaw-dropping. Those who have been warning that the property market is an over-inflated bubble have gone quiet, for fear of looking even more foolish if this upward momentum is maintained.

Time for thrift

The financial services regulator has teeth after all, which must come as a surprise to the people running the country's main banks.


Headlong rush on Aer Lingus

The record high reached by the Irish stock market last week – with the ISEQ index breaking 8,000 – suggests that this might be a perfect time to raise large amounts of cash for Aer Lingus by way of a stock market flotation.

The culling of casinos

'Do you need €1.35 million? Play Now. Lotto. It could be you." The text of this advertisement for the National Lottery, in the window of some retailers at present, proves that the Government not only approves of gambling but actively encourages it.


AIB's 'excessive profit-taking' not the worst

It's easy to take pot-shots at AIB's profitability. Many politicians could not resist populist attacks last week when the bank announced 2005 profits of €1.7 billion, even after setting €50 million aside to cover the cost of compensating customers ripped off by the foreign exchange transactions scandal. This is an enormous figure in a country this size – even if half that profit is earned abroad. At face value it implies to some an organisation that is ripping off its customers, overcharging for services and products.

Bargaining Aer Lingus's status

The Government's intended sale of Aer Lingus is likely to be a subject for the new partnership talks with the social partners that started on 25 Janaury. One of the five conditions set down by the trade unions is the role of the State in economic affairs and it is known that Siptu in particular is determined that Aer Lingus remains in State ownership.

Race to bottom

In agreeing the conditions for the entry of the trade union movement into talks for a successor to the Sustaining Progress partnership agreement, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has agreed implicitly with SIPTU's analysis of labour market trends. That may be a big mistake.


The coming meltdown

The media and public were transfixed by the nuclear threat of the second half of the 20th century - so why aren't they more concerned about climate change, the single biggest challenge facing the planet today? Bill McKibben reports on recent evidence for global warming, and why scientists have struggled to convince us that its happening.