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Irish report Irish report
by Euro Reporter
2008-12-30 08:29:14
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Three-day week

Up to 180 staff at a Dublin hotel will begin working three-day weeks from today after brokering a deal to avoid job losses. Workers at the Green Isle Hotel at Newlands Cross have accepted a drastic reduction in their working hours to avoid compulsory redundancies. The union said it has negotiated a deal with management after being approached about cost reductions due to flagging bookings over the festive season.

Staff, who was working five-day weeks, will supplement their income by signing on for social welfare benefits for the days they are not working. The weekly earnings of a house assistant stood at about €400 but will drop by €160 as a result of the agreement.

 The results of the economic recession always hit the workers first.


Ethnic tensions alert

A total of 100,000 non-nationals left Ireland this year -- three times the previous estimate, new government figures show. But immigrant numbers remain at record levels and Integration Minister Conor Lenihan has warned of "tensions" between groups competing for jobs as unemployment soars.

Mr. Lenihan says confidential research suggests that an army of 100,000 migrants have left Ireland in the last 12 months with the collapse of the Celtic Tiger. The number is three times the official estimate of the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) that 35,000 immigrants have left Ireland over the last year. In a circular to TDs, Mr. Lenihan said that nearly 140,000 fresh PPS numbers were issued to non-nationals in the first 10 months of the year now ending. "Given these latter figures, the integration of immigrants remains a significant challenge," the minister warned.

The new reality in Europe.


Shoppers bag bargains

Retailers are receiving a much-needed respite from the economic crisis with Ireland's largest shopping centre reporting a 10pc rise in shoppers on the opening day of sales. More than 90,000 people flocked to the Dundrum Town Centre on Saturday as prices were slashed by up to 70pc. Major Dublin department stores Clerys, on O'Connell Street, and Brown Thomas, on Grafton Street, also reported a busy start to the traditional winter sales.

The post-Christmas splurge follows one of the bleakest periods for the retail sector in living memory. The Dublin City Business Association (DCBA), which represents retailers across the capital, said the increasing trend of shoppers hanging on until after Christmas to spend big was a major factor in the recent upturn. "The last couple of days before Christmas were very good and there was certainly a return to what you would expect to be the normal Christmas pattern of spending," chief executive Tom Coffey said. "That looks like it is accelerating at the moment for the sales.

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