Football is back. Finally. It is the NFL’s Hall of Fame weekend, and much media attention has been focused on Brett Favre. Known at “the Iron Man” during is tenure in the NFL with an insane 297 consecutive starts over a 20-year career. It is fitting that Favre enters the Hall of Fame along with the late-Ken Stabler. There are numerous parallels between both quarterbacks. Both went to southern colleges. Stabler to Alabama and Farve to Southern Miss. Both had slow starts to their respective careers. Both led eventual powerhouse teams which respectively went down as dynasties in the NFL. Both won a Super Bowl championship, and experts agree each…

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Fergus Clancy has been appointed executive chairman of Mater Private Healthcare Group, having previously been its group CEO. According to the company, Clancy will retain overall responsibility for strategic leadership and governance of the Group. John Hurley has been appointed to replace him as group CEO.  Hurley was previously CEO of Mater Private Hospital, Dublin.  A graduate of University College Cork, he did his surgical training in Ireland and completed his training as a heart transplant surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic. He was appointed consultant cardiac and transplant surgeon at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in 1995 and since then he has also been a surgeon in the Mater Private.…

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There were two developments that were particularly positive for Ireland’s debt dynamics in the first half of this year – the issue of our first ever 30-year bond and the completion of the early repayment of just over €18bn of Ireland’s IMF loan facility, according to National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) chief executive Conor O’Kelly. On the release of the NTMA’s 2014 annual report and mid-year update, he explained the early repayment of the IMF loan was made using cheaper, long-term market funding and generated interest savings of over €1.5bn. “The weighted average maturity of our long-term marketable and official debt has improved from 7.3 years at end 2012 to…

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Irish Nationwide Building Society (INBS) has admitted to “multiple breaches of financial services law and regulation” and has entered into a settlement agreement with the Central Bank. The Central Bank said today that the settlement follows the conclusion of its “most significant and extensive regulatory investigation to date”. The investigation, which focused on INBS’s commercial lending and credit risk management processes, began in 2010.  It related to the building society and certain people involved in its management between 1 August 2004 and 30 September 2008. Between 2008 and 2010, INBS had losses of more than €6bn, mainly due to the impairment of its impaired loan book.  Under the National Asset…

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The Telecommunications, Software, and Systems Group (TSSG) at Waterford Institute of Technology is co-ordinating an EU-funded project to help build the global technical infrastructure for a fifth generation (5G) telecommunications network and mobile internet. The 30-month CogNet (Cognitive Networks) project has received almost €6m in EU funding as the only Irish-led project approved under the Horizon 2020-financed, 5G Public, Private Partnership programme (5G-PPP). Current telecom providers have just started the process of rolling out 4G, and 5G is likely to start appearing around 2022. A multinational project, CogNet will develop solutions to provide a highly automated and more intelligent level of network monitoring and management, improve operational and energy efficiencies,…

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The sudden closure of department store Clerys in June 2015 raises some interesting corporate governance issues, writes Niamh Brennan, Michael MacCormac Professor of Management at University College Dublin (UCD). By way of background, Clerys is a department store in Dublin’s main street, O’Connell Street. Until recently it was a family-owned business, having been established in 1853. It has a particular place in Dubliners’ hearts, as many courting couples would arrange to meet under Clerys clock. In 2012, Clerys was purchased by Boston-based US firm of turnaround experts Gordon Brothers for €14m. Fair play to Gordon Brothers. It sold the fine building on O’Connell Street housing the Clerys trading business to…

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Tech multinational EMC has developed an innovation platform from its Cork base specifically designed for industrial internet of things (IoT) development, in partnership with Vodafone Ireland. Involving an initial €2m investment and called Infinite, this is the first large-scale Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) approved industrial IoT innovation platform in Europe. The platform is spread across three data centres – those of EMC, Vodafone and data centre and cloud provider Cork Internet eXchange in Cork. IoT involves processes such as manufacturing to everyday objects, including household appliances and even clothing, containing sensors that are connected to the internet and generating data for analysis. Infinite encompasses all the significant technologies, domains and…

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NUI Galway has today named the four recipients of its 2015 honorary degrees. The four, who will be conferred this Friday (12 June), are: Áine Brazil, vice chairman of Thornton Tomasetti, New York, USA; Billy Lawless, Chicago-based Galway-born businessman and vice-president of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights; Svante Pääbo, Swedish biologist and director at the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany; and Phillip Smyth, director of the Shannon College of Hotel Management. NUI Galway president, Dr Jim Browne, said each has made an outstanding and distinctive contribution to the diverse fields of engineering, public life, genetic science and the international hospitality industry. Brazil will be…

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End to Voucher Expiry Dates Proposed in New Consumer Legislation

A ban on expiry dates in gift vouchers and new rights in services and online contracts are among the proposals of new consumer rights legislation being published today for a consultation. According to Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, the legislation represents the most far-reaching reform of consumer law in decades. It is designed to make consumer rights clear to consumers and businesses by replacing the overlapping combination of primary, secondary and European legislation in place currently. It will also give consumers a range of new rights. As well banning expiry dates for gift cards and vouchers, it includes statutory rights and remedies for consumers who download or…

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Realex Payments, the company founded in Ireland in 2000 by Colm Lyon and sold to Global Payments recently for €115m, has appointed Gary Conroy as managing director. Conroy joined Realex Payments in 2005 and most recently served as chief operating officer and deputy CEO, where he managed all customer facing aspects of the business across sales, marketing, and operations. Lyon said: “Gary joined Realex Payments as employee number 14. Since then he has helped scale the company to 170 employees, growing the business from 500 to 12,500 customers during a period of 35pc transaction volume growth year-on-year. “Now, with the opportunities afforded by Global Payments, there couldn’t be a better…

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