Irish Newspaper Collective Wants to Charge License Fees for Links [the-digital-reader]

NewspapersIMF4-230x150[1]It’s a fact of life that legacy industries are often killed off by newer industries spawned by new inventions, so the generally worsening situation of the newspaper industry should come as no surprise as more news moves online.

What does surprise me is that some in the industry seemed determined to speed up the process and hasten the deaths of their companies. I’ve just read that the National Newspapers of Ireland has adopted a new licensing scheme where they expect websites to pay to link to one of their members.

I’m not kidding. They’ve been sending out notices, demanding payment:

The Newspaper Industry (all these newspapers) had its agent write out demanding money. They wrote to Women’s Aid, (amongst others) who became our clients when they received letters, emails and phone calls asserting that they needed to buy a licence because they had linked to articles in newspapers carrying positive stories about their fundraising efforts.

Note that this is not paying for an excerpt, which is not that unreasonable, or some punitive measure for the copying of an entire article. No, the NNI wants to charge for links like thisthis, or this.

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Irish average debt is almost €10,000 now

The average consumer now owes four times more than they did in 2008, stark new figures reveal.

Irish people have become buried in credit union debt and unpaid telephone, fuel and tax bills since the recession kicked in.

The figures, from the company behind the debt defaulters magazine, Stubbs Gazette, show the average consumer now owes almost €10,000 — compared to €2,442 in 2008. Those living in commuter towns and remote rural counties have been particularly badly hit.

Sligo, which was one of the least indebted counties in 2008, has become the least credit-worthy. The average Sligo consumer now owes about €20,000 — about 15 times what they owed in 2008.

The Stubbs’ figures track debts that have been chased through the courts after an individual was unable to pay telephone, fuel and tax bills, as well as repayments on unsecured loans, such as credit cards, personal loans and credit union loans. The figures do not include mortgage debt.

Along with Sligo, consumer debt has ballooned in Louth, Leitrim, Westmeath, Wexford and Donegal. In Louth, the average consumer debt is about nine times what it was in 2008; in Leitrim, it is eight times what it was that year. The average consumer in Westmeath, Wexford and Donegal now owes seven times what they did in 2008.

James Treacy, managing director of the Stubbs Gazette Credit Bureau, said the figures reflect “the inability of consumers to service loans taken out when the economy seemed to be stronger and earnings more secure”.


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Citigroup Warns Irish Investors to Plan for Losses [Bloomberg]

As Irish bonds extend their rally, the gains for investors may be disguising a different story.

The yield on Ireland’s benchmark 2020 bond fell below 5 percent today for the first time since the country’s international rescue in November 2010. The debt is the second- best performing in the euro region this year, trailing only fellow bailout recipient Portugal.

All of the optimism that Ireland can raise money in the markets and avoid a debt restructuring is premature as the nation struggles to emerge from its worst recession in modern history, said Michael Saunders, Citigroup Inc.’s head of European economics in London.

“Ireland faces an almost impossible task to get back to fiscal balance,” Saunders said. Visits to the country showed “life is tough, very tough and not getting that much better anytime soon,” he said.

Saunders said a slower economic revival may eventually make Ireland’s debt, which more than tripled during the past five years, unsustainable. Gross domestic product was unchanged in the second quarter from the previous three months of the year, the Central Statistics Office in Dublin said today. Analysts had expected an increase of 0.7 percent. The economy contracted 1.1 percent from the second quarter last year.

Citigroup Warns Irish Investors to Plan for Losses


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Ireland Said Likely to Miss October Target to Ease Bank Debt [Bloomberg]

Ireland’s government will probably fail in its bid to secure an accord to reduce its legacy banking debt by the end of October, two people with direct knowledge of the talks said.

European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said in July that concrete proposals on the Irish question would be presented to euro-area finance ministers in September before a final decision in October. The details are unlikely to be on the agenda when ministers meet in Cyprus next week, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.

European leaders are focusing primarily on bringing down Spanish borrowing costs before turning attention to Ireland, the people said. Finance Minister Michael Noonan will tour key European capitals next week as part of his campaign to lower the 64 billion-euro ($81.4 billion) cost of bailing out Ireland’s financial system.

Irish Central Bank Governor Patrick Honohan said today that he was sure “something would be done” on the 30 billion-euro cost of saving the former Anglo Irish Bank Corp., though the timing was unimportant.


Ireland Said Likely to Miss October Target to Ease Bank Debt


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Irish Bailout Masters Press For Rental Home Seizures: Mortgages [Bloomberg]

Ireland’s bankers and bailout masters are pressing the government to make it easier to seize homes bought as investments to rent out, as defaults on the loans surge after Western Europe’s worst real-estate collapse.

The International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank, the so-called Troika that rescued Ireland in 2010, want the state to tackle a legal loophole impeding lenders from foreclosing on loans taken out before 2009, according to three people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named as final decisions haven’t been made.

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Ireland: New ‘super property tax’ plan for wealthy homeowners [independent]

THE Government is considering a ‘super property tax’ for owners of large, expensive homes.

Under the proposals, the rate of tax levied would rise with the value of the property, the Irish Independent has learned.

Similar to income tax, the property tax rate would go up in bands linked to the value of the house.

That means owners of such houses would pay a higher percentage rate of tax due to its greater value.

This ‘super tax’ would help the Government to sell the property tax to the public as homeowners would clearly see the rich paying more.

A coalition source said: “You would need bands . . . the millionaire’s house would proportionately cost more.”

It will spark concern among those who already stretched themselves to buy a relatively expensive property, and have already paid stamp duty.

But no decision has yet been made on the proposals — or on the levels at which a higher rate of property tax might kick in.

The Government is trying to devise a system that is as easy as possible to understand.

“Taxes that are complicated are not publicly accepted,” a coalition source said.

The coalition is moving toward a pure market value model for the property tax.

This measures the home in terms of its price if it was being sold on the current market.

The Government is moving away from a site-value tax because it would throw up anomalies.

For example, two houses — one rundown and one modern — on the same-sized site would have the same property tax bill.

In urban areas, houses on the same road tend to be more uniform — with the site and the house being, more or less, the same size and value.

But in rural areas there are often houses of different sizes and values built side-by-side.

Although the site-value tax is favoured by economists, the Government is finding it difficult to identify a country in Europe where it is used effectively.

“Market value picks up everything. It picks up on your house size, location, level of amenities and access to facilities,” a source said.

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Irish Politicians Grill Finance Minister Over Bilderberg Meeting Attendance [Infowars]

Steve Watson

Politicians in Ireland have demanded an account of discussions that the Irish finance minister took part in during his attendance at the 2012 Bilderberg meeting in Chantilly, Virginia earlier this month.

The Irish Times reports that Minister for Finance Michael Noonan’s appearance in an unofficial capacity at the secretive elite confab cost the taxpayer more than €4,300.

The report states that a number of Irish TD’s, parliament members, raised Noonan’s Bilderberg trip in parliamentary questions.

Representatives from Labour, Sinn Féin and the technical group all asked for more information on the discussions that took place behind closed doors and away from media scrutiny in the US.

Noonan responded to the questions, but provided scant details, simply saying that he had been invited “given my position as Minister for Finance” and “used the opportunity to tell fellow attendees of the opportunities that exist in Ireland for investors and multinational companies.”

He added that another reason for attending the meeting was to promote the notion that the Irish government has restored economic stability to the country.

“The Irish people have a right to know what their senior Ministers are saying at a meeting like this, and what stance they are taking on global issues.” said Pat Nulty, a former Labour whip, adding that Noonan’s responses were not sufficient.

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Boom & Gloom: Ghost town shame haunts ex-’Celtic Tiger’ after

Picturesque towns outside of Dublin were supposed to offer a vibrant suburban existence for thousands of Irish families. But the dream burst like a bubble when the country’s construction boom went bust leaving developers bankrupt. RT Laura Smith visited the many ghost towns left behind.

Here They Come: Ireland Demands Renegotiation Of Its Bailout Terms To Match Spain [Zerohedge]

Well that didn’t take long. The ink on the #Spailout is not dry yet (well technically there is no ink, because none of the actual details of the Spanish banking system rescue are even remotely known, and likely won’t be because when it comes to answering where the money comes from there simply is no answer) and we already have an answer to one of our questions. Recall thatmere hours ago we asked: “We also wonder how will Ireland feel knowing that it has to suffer under backbreaking austerity in exchange for Troika generosity, while Spain gets away scott free.” We now know. From the AFP: “Ireland wants to renegotiate its rescue plan to benefit from the same treatment as Spain, which looks set to win a bailout for its banks without any broader economic reforms in return, European sources said on Saturday.” And with Ireland on the renegotiation train, next comes Greece. Only with Greece the wheels for a bailout overhaul are already in motion and are called a “vote of Syriza on June 17.” And remember how everyone was threatening the Greeks with the 10th circle of hell if they dare to renegotiate the memorandum? Well, Spain just showed that a condition-free bailout is an option. Which means Syriza will get all the votes it needs and then some with promises of a consequence free bailout renegotiation. In other words Syriza’s Tsipras should send a bottle of the finest champagne to de Guindos – he just won him the election.

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Ireland Still Long Way from Overcoming Debt Crisis [Spiegel]



Posters for the fiscal pact referendum in Dublin (May 30 photo).

Irish voters have approved the fiscal pact in a closely watched referendum, to the relief of European leaders. But the country is still a long way from solving its debt crisis, and its banks will soon need additional billions in fresh capital.

Henry Healy spent March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, at the White House in Washington. His distant cousin Barack Obama had invited him. The US president has Irish roots on his mother’s side of the family. “We went to a bar for a pint of Guinness,” recalls Healy.

Last week, however, Healy, an accountant from the small Irish town of Moneygall, was no longer in a celebratory mood. “Joined the ranks of the recession brigade today!! #unemployed,” he wrote in a Twitter message. His employer, an Irish supplier to the construction industry, had laid him off after six years. It was probably inevitable, Healy says without bitterness, pointing out that “the construction industry in Ireland is rapidly downsizing.”

Healy is one of hundreds of thousands of Irish who have lost their jobs. Since 2008, Ireland has been struggling to overcome the financial crisis — and can’t seem to get back on its feet. The unemployment rate has stagnated at roughly 14 percent for months on end. Many young Irish have decided to leave the country altogether.

Illusory Confidence

In 2010, the European Union had to support the country to the tune of €67.5 billion ($84 billion). Ireland’s local banks had gambled and lost on real estate loans, and had been bailed out with comprehensive state guarantees. Soon thereafter, the Irish and their fellow Europeans throughout the continent had great hopes that the worst was over. Recently, the Irish were considered a paragon for the entire euro zone. In 2011, the economy even grew, albeit only by 0.7 percent. But such confidence proved illusory.

As things now stand, Ireland will have to be bailed out a second time. The banks have proven to be a bottomless pit. They have to be recapitalized once again. The previous write-downs of the 10 largest consumer banks, amounting to €118 billion, are still not enough.

The country’s financial woes were also the main topic of last Thursday’s referendum, in which the Irish voted on the European fiscal pact. The majority of voters reluctantly backed the pact, initiated by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, which aims to impose budgetary discipline on countries and prevent the excessive accumulation of debt. Ultimately the Irish were motivated by the fear that the Europeans would otherwise cut off the flow of money.

On the evening before the referendum, European Affairs Minister Lucinda Creighton was still canvassing door to door in her Dublin electoral district to discourage voters from supporting the “no” campaign. The politician relentlessly pointed out to the many skeptics that Ireland will need €18 billion in 2014. It will take €10 billion, for instance, to pay teachers’ salaries and support the unemployed, she argued. The opponents of the fiscal pact, she argued, couldn’t say where the money is supposed to come from.

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Governance by Troika [Martin Cole on]

Ireland reaches the halfway stage of its supposed limited period of direct rule by foreigners today, with no signs that any real steps have been taken to heal its economy or repay its debts. Yet the figurative jackboot over Ireland’s fate is grinding ever further into the flesh and fabric of the country. The following is the final paragraph of the report on this anniversary by Irish broadcaster RTE, linked here:

Other aspects of the troika talks have concentrated on reforming social welfare and so called labour activation measures for the unemployed, the introduction of water meters and charges, and the sale of some state assets.

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