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Nine more people are suing Independent News and Media and its former chairman Leslie Buckley over alleged data hacking.

Journalist Sam Smyth, former INM executive Andrew Donagher, ex-chief financial officer Donal Buggy and former head of group treasury Anne Marie Healy are all seeking damages over an alleged data breach in 2014.

Papers lodged before the High Court on Friday show former INM employee Mandy Scott, PR executives Mark Kenny and Harriet Mansergh – a daughter of former Fianna Fáil TD Martin Mansergh – and Rory Godson, a former journalist and now PR consultant, have also lodged similar lawsuits.

In plenary summons, they are claiming breaches of data protection, privacy, confidentiality and their constitutional rights.

High profile media lawyer Simon McAleese, who represents seven of the litigants, is taking a separate personal case against both INM and Mr Buckley, which is also related to an investigation by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE). Mr McAleese is being represented by Dundon Callanan Solicitors based in Limerick.

The State’s corporate watchdog is investigating an alleged operation in INM in 2014 to secretly download the newspaper publisher’s back-up IT tapes to search its email system for information about several prominent individuals.

An affidavit by the Director of Corporate Enforcement Ian Drennan as part of his application to have court inspectors appointed to investigate…


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About 25 restaurants have filed High Court proceedings against their insurers in relation to the losses they have incurred because of the coronavirus lockdown, and the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) has up to 140 members with potential claims, according to Georgina Robinson, a solicitor acting for the restaurants.

Pubs and restaurants are in dispute with their insurers over whether their policies cover them for the loss of income caused by the lockdown. It is not clear which sector will see the first test case come to court.

In May a number of cases taken by pubs against FBD insurance were entered into the commercial list of the High Court on the expectation they would serve as test cases for more than 1,000 pubs that are arguing that their insurers should pay out for the losses incurred as a result of the lockdown.

The dispute with FBD has been listed for October 6th and the hearing is expected to take up to two weeks.

On Thursday, Robinson O’Neill solicitors, Dublin, lodged proceedings on behalf of a number of restaurant operators against Specialist Underwriting Services, of Windy Arbour, Dublin. Cases are also being taken against other insurers and underwriters.

A spokeswoman for Specialist Underwriting Services said it did not wish to comment.

The pubs are seeking a full court hearing involving witnesses, with the claims including disputes over assurances some pubs say they were given about their policies covering the coronavirus pandemic.

About 25 restaurants have filed High Court proceedings against their insurers in relation to the losses they have incurred because of the coronavirus lockdown, and the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) has up to 140 members with potential claims, according to Georgina Robinson, a solicitor acting for the restaurants.

Pubs and restaurants are in dispute with their insurers over whether their policies cover them for the loss of income caused by the lockdown. It is not clear which sector will see the first test case come to court.

In May a number of cases taken by pubs against FBD insurance were entered into the commercial list of the High Court on the expectation they would serve as test cases for more than 1,000 pubs that are arguing that their insurers should pay out for the losses incurred as a result of the lockdown.

The dispute with FBD has been listed for October 6th and the hearing is expected to take up to two weeks.

On Thursday, Robinson O’Neill solicitors, Dublin, lodged proceedings on behalf of a number of restaurant operators against Specialist Underwriting Services, of Windy Arbour, Dublin. Cases are also being taken against other insurers and underwriters.

Legal route

The restaurants’ cases are being taken by a different legal route to the cases being taken by the pubs, and it is not clear which will come to court first.

“Our strategy is to get the cases heard as quickly as possible, perhaps before the cases that the pubs are taking against FBD,” said Adrian Cummins, chief executive of the RAI. “Let’s see now how the insurance companies react.”

A spokeswoman for Specialist Underwriting Services said it did not wish to comment.

The pubs are seeking a full court hearing involving witnesses, with the claims including disputes over assurances some pubs say they were given about their policies covering the coronavirus pandemic.

The October hearing will deal only with the issue of liability, and the outcome is likely to be appealed.

If the pubs are ultimately successful, then the matter goes back to court for consideration of the topic of “quantum”, or how much compensation the pubs should get.

The cases being taken by the restaurants are by way of special summons, where the restaurants are seeking a declaration from the court that their policies cover them for losses caused by the lockdown.

There would be no need for witnesses for such a hearing and it is possible the legal submissions could be made in one day.

If the restaurants are ultimately successful, the issue of quantum would then be decided by way of a separate hearing.

At the moment the ability of the High Court to hear cases involving witnesses is severely restrained because of the public-health guidelines associated with the pandemic.

Radius

A key matter for both the pubs and the restaurants is whether a clause in their policies covering them from losses arising from the outbreak of disease within a certain defined radius of their business, applies to a pandemic where the whole State was the subject of a lockdown.

Michael O’Hara, a director of Jupiter Dawn Limited, which trades as Yeats County Inn, Curry, Co Sligo, said his company’s claim against Specialist Underwriting Services was connected with business-interruption insurance.

“Our premium has gone up every year and in the five years I’ve been here we’ve never had a claim,” he said, adding that he paid about €8,000 for insurance this year.

Mr O’Hara said his broker had suggested to him that he might receive a reduction in his premium for the months he was closed as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.


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The Central Bank of Ireland has warned it could take until 2024 for the Irish economy to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic if there is a second outbreak of Covid-19.

This warning is based on the worst-case scenario laid out in the Central Bank’s latest quarterly analysis of the economy. This scenario assumes the strict lockdown period has a more damaging impact on economic activity and that there is a resurgence of coronavirus at some point over the next year, with the economy contracting by nearly 14 per cent for 2020 and the Government’s budget deficit ballooning to €30 billion.

In a more benign scenario, the Central Bank predicts that the economy could rebound by 2022, provided there is a gradual reopening of the economy this year and no resurgence of coronavirus.

However, the level of activity will be significantly below where it would have been had the economy grown in line with expectations before the pandemic, the Central Bank said.

“While there is considerable uncertainty about the outlook, the scenarios we present . . . point to a deep downturn in 2020, with a gradual recovery in coming years,” the bank’s director of economics and statistics, Mark Cassidy, said. “The path ahead for the economy will depend on the path of the virus, which makes the strength of the recovery and the future impact on sectors uncertain.”

Exchequer figures for the first six months of this year highlighted the cost to the State of battling the pandemic. The budget deficit swelled to €5.3 billion in June, as spending on health and income supports related to the Covid-19 pandemic soared.This compared with a surplus of €260 million for the same period last year.

Government spending was 20 per cent above its original target at nearly €32 billion in June. Social protection spending was €4.1 billion above profile, reflecting the Government’s income support schemes, while health spending was €1.2 billion ahead of target.

Wage subsidy scheme

One of the first issues the new Government will have to examine is the future of the wage subsidy scheme. It is expected the future structure of the scheme will form part of the July stimulus plan expected towards the end of the month.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the scheme may be fine-tuned or targeted at specific sectors of the economy which most need it, with analysis needed before changes are made.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said: “We’ll be looking at the viability of different sectors within our economy. And we will be seeing if there are sector-specific issues that do need to be addressed by the future of the wage subsidy scheme. The abrupt conclusion and termination of the wage subsidy scheme could have a significant effect on job retention in our country. And that is something that the new Government wants to avoid.”

Michael McGrath, the Minister for Public Expenditure, said: “There are of course significant decisions to be made in relation to the future of the wage subsidy scheme and pandemic unemployment payments. We [also] have the existing commercial rates waiver, the business restart grant, we have the credit guarantee scheme legislation, which needs to be brought before the Oireachtas and enacted.”



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