And the “hits” keeping coming, as the old-time disc jockeys used to say. The Sunday Business Post predicts that figures for the first two months of the year – to be published this week – will show that the tax take is down 20 per cent on the same period in 2009. Vat receipts are significantly down and income tax is also below expectations.
In the Hangar 6 row, the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) rolled out a howitzer at the weekend and turned it on Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary. High-profile millionaire Bill Cullen, who has been a non-executive director of the DAA for the past five years, said that O’Leary was all ego and no integrity. “It’s all about publicity with him. He might dress down. He might wear the jeans and the oul’ shirt and all that stuff but that’s all an act. He has a huge ego,” Cullen said in a speech to students at NUI, Maynooth that was widely quoted in the Sunday Independent.
A Government stamp duty trade-in initiative to kick-start the ailing housing market has turned out to be a monumental failure. Only one property developer has availed of the scheme announced by Finance Minister Brian Lenihan in the emergency Budget last April. Anyone who accepted a property in exchange or as part-payment for a new home could avail of a deferred stamp duty payment under the scheme. The builder would not be liable for stamp duty until the swapped or traded-in house or apartment was sold on, or until December 31, 2010, which ever came first.
Ever heard of Breffny Morgan? Me neither? But he describes himself as a “bona fide celebrity” and he’s visiting schools around the country to talk about success and stardom – at a cost of €5 a pupil. The 22-year-old Corkman was, apparently, a participant on the TV 3 show The Apprentice and he was kicked off after the ninth week. But, as he puts it, there is success in failure. Morgan and fellow contestant Stephen Higgins are visiting 40 secondary schools for the half-hour talks.
British retail giant WH Smith is considering making a bid for the assets of the Irish bookstore chain, Hughes & Hughes, which went into receivership on Friday. Most of the Sunday newspaper speculated on WH Smith’s interest in the chain – especially the valuable Hughes & Hughes concession shops at Cork and Dublin Airports. The two airport shops continued to trade over the weekend.