Monday, July 25, 2016

Donie's Ireland daily news BLOG update

Global financial firms plot Dublin opportunities in post-Brexit era




Overseas financial firms including private equity giant KKR, Silicon Valley Bank, insurer Beazley and Bank of New York Mellon have said in recent days that Ireland is primed to win business from London in the post-Brexit world.
BNY Mellon, which has about 1,800 employees in Ireland servicing asset managers, insurance companies and hedge funds, highlighted its Irish base on a call with analysts during the week, as clients seek to move funds from the UK.
“We think we’re in good shape operationally to help our clients deal with whatever impact Brexit offers,” BNY Mellon’s chairman and chief executive Gerald Hassell said, highlighting its operations in Ireland, Luxembourg and Belgium.
“The fund managers, when they have to think about the jurisdiction of their funds, if they want to move them to the UK to a [location where they can access the EU], we are very well positioned to help them get there.”
Ireland is home to €3 trillion of investment funds, money market funds and special purpose vehicles as of the end of 2015, according to Central Bank data. The extent to which financial services companies and funds will seek to move business from the UK will ultimately depend on the nature of its divorce agreement from the EU and whether Theresa May’s government retains its access to the single market.
Dearth of infrastructure in Ireland?
Economists at Deutsche Bank warned earlier in the week that a dearth of office space, housing, school places and other infrastructure in Ireland, amid under-investment during the financial crisis, may limit the extent to which Ireland may be able to poach investment and jobs from the City of London.
  • Brexit: What is Article 50 and why does it matter?
  • Sinn Féin ‘willing to look at alternatives to united Ireland’
  • Wider implications for Ireland of Brexit need to be brought into the open
Other observers have noted a reluctance by the Central Bank, chastened by the crisis, to approve swathes of regulated financial services business. Still,Cyril Roux, deputy governor at the bank, told industry bodies in the past 10 days it remains committed to a “clear, open and transparent authorisation process while ensuring a rigorous assessment of the application against regulatory standards”.
Beazley, a Lloyds of London insurer, told Reuters on Friday it is working to get European insurance licences for its Irish reinsurance business to allow it to operate throughout the EU, even if Lloyd’s loses access to the bloc.
Insurers are making contingency plans after Britain’s vote last month to leave the EU left them facing the risk they could lose “passporting” rights that enable them to sell their products throughout Europe.
Dublin is the favoured alternative hub to London for insurers due to its geographical proximity, similar regulatory regime, and English-speaking workforce, industry specialists say. It is already considered an insurance centre, with giant insurer Zurich having its European headquarters here.
Ahead of the UK referendum last month, Lloyd’s, which groups more than 80 insurance syndicates in the City of London, warned that the specialist insurance market would be less appealing to investors outside Britain after a Brexit vote.
KKR’s co-chief executive Henry Kravis said at an event in Hong Kong earlier this week that Ireland and Luxembourg are likely to be the main beneficiaries about 20 per cent of London’s financial sector relocates elsewhere because of the need to passport products and services across Europe.
KKR, which has $126 billion (€114.4 billion) of assets under management, bought Irish credit investment firm Avoca Capital three years ago. Last year, the firm joined forces with the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund to launch a €500 million fund to provide finance to residential property developers.
Meanwhile, Gregory Becker, chief executive of Silicon Valley Bank, the Californian tech-to-life-sciences lender, told analysts during the week he sees “plenty of opportunity” in Europe despite uncertainty created by Brexit, having established a presence in Ireland earlier this year.


IDA Ireland, the State agency in charge of attracting foreign investment, made it clear within hours of the UK referendum outcome last month that it will look to capitalise on the British vote.
The National Treasury Management Agency said in an investor presentation earlier this month, two weeks after the UK referendum, that Ireland may be a beneficiary from “displaced” UK foreign direct investment, particularly in financial and business services as well as information technology and new media.
Previous NTMA presentations had put a figure of €6 billion on potential investment Ireland could win on the back of the UK quitting the EU.
“Dublin is likely to compete with Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam for financial services, if the UK (City of London), loses its EU passporting rights on exit,” the NTMA said.

Tim Kaine, potential Vice President USA harmonica player and a pure black Irishman?

   Tim Kaine's wife Anne (center) is Virginia's education secretary and daughter Annella is an NYU student. Above, the trio celebrate Kaine winning a seat on the Senate in 2012 
Tim Kaine getting a hug from Hillary.  Above right , the trio celebrate Tim Kaine winning a seat on the Senate in 2012 
Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s pick for Vice President has a secret weapon – his harmonica. When things slow down and a party needs a burst of old fashioned song and hoopla, Kaine forgets his strait laced persona and usually volunteers a tune or two – Johnny Cash numbers are a specialty, especially “Folsom Prison Blues” and gets the toes tapping again.
He picked up his harmonica at the American Ireland Fund dinner, in Washington, in March, where a lively evening was further enlivened when the new Vice President pick for Hillary Clinton took the stage.
He can do Irish, Appalachian, and southern country and he’s the most famous figure, right now, out of Virginia since New York linebacker legend Lawrence Taylor.
Senator Kaine and his wife, Virginia Secretary of Education Anne Holton, make an extraordinary political couple and if they ever make it to the Naval Observatory, the home of the Vice President, they are bound to make an incredible impression.
  Tim Kaine takes the stage playing Harmonica.
On the Irish political side of things, Kaine has been a member of The Irish National Caucus since December 2012. The Caucus is a, once controversial, group who put it up to the British on the North often more than the Irish government wanted. They sport a letter on their site from 2012 with Kaine saying he is happy to join them as he arrives in the Senate to serve his first term. They are seen as more hard-line on Ireland than the Congressional Friends of Ireland that Kaine also belongs to, which carries out much of the Irish government’s agenda.
Kaine certainly feels Ireland in his heart. During his acceptance speech for The American Ireland Fund Leadership Award, he talked about his family’s 2006 trip to Ireland, where they found the ruins of his great-grandfather’s cottage in Killashee Parish, in Longford.
He stated at the dinner: “I am about as stone Irish as you get for somebody whose family has been in the country for 150 years.”
He visited Ireland during his first year as governor of Virginia, with his wife Anne and three children. They visited the ruins of the home of his great-grandfather, PJ Farrell who later emigrated to Kansas, where he became a successful farmer.
Kaine told the dinner about how his children were unhappy with leaving “cool” Dublin to search for his family roots in County Longford.
“As we drove to Longford, which isn’t exactly the tourist zone, they continued to complain,” he said.
He also has Kilkenny root, which makes him the exception, as most Irish roots go back to the traditional Irish western seaboard counties like Mayo, Galway, and Kerry.
Here are his very moving remarks to the American Ireland Fund on finding his roots:
“All four of my grandparents were born to Irish immigrants. Three to families where both the Mom and Dad were from Ireland and one to a family where the Mom was from Ireland and the Dad was Scottish born but moved to Northern Ireland before emigrating to the United States.
“And I will say this too, I am pure black Irish, there is not a red-headed Norseman anywhere in our family.  But that makes this very, very special. Until I was 48 years old, Ireland played a huge and important role in my life but sort-of in the dreams of my life…I had never been to Ireland. So it was photos, it was genealogy and it was family stories and it was Roman Catholicism and it was music and it was St. Patrick’s Day. That’s what being Irish meant to me but I felt the deep connection to it.
“When I was Governor of Virginia in my first year, 2006, my wife Anne and I took our three children to Ireland to go find the ruins of the home where my great-grandfather, PJ Farrell, was born.  My  parents had been there before and found it.  We went to Dublin and my children were having a blast, they were all teenagers and when I said ‘we have to spend a day traipsing around in the countryside instead of hanging around in Temple Bar and Grafton Street’ they were extremely disappointed in their Father.
“As we drove to Longford which isn’t exactly the tourist zone they continued to complain.  But when we landed in Longford town my 11 year old daughter said to me, ‘Dad, why does everyone look like us?’ And they started to get it.
“And then we drove the 10 km to Killashee Parish and then we parked the vehicle and traipsed a half a mile across fields and found two still standing walls of what had been a house with windows and doors now with a tin roof stacked with hay and I told my children, ‘This is where we come from.’  And it, even with unruly and obnoxious teenagers it made a huge impact on them and since that time we have been back very, very often.”
Kaine quotes W.B. Yeats a lot, something he has in common with outgoing VP Joe Biden, most recently when talking about the Syrian refugee crisis where he pleaded that ISIS was the enemy not the refugees.
He stated “Yeats wrote a poem after World War I surveying the wreckage of these societies called, “The Second Coming”, and he expressed a real concern about the state of society at the time because what he noticed was at that time “the best lack all conviction and the worst; are filled with passionate intensity.”
He was raised devoutly Catholic so much so that his parents would rush back from wherever they were to make sure they made a Sunday evening Mass and knew all the churches that had them.
He is a new Catholic in the likeness of Pope Francis, deeply committed to social justice and reflecting the same Jesuit background and schooling the pope has.
His perfect Spanish come from his mission to South America here he lived for over a year helping with construction projects.
Finally, he is the second Irish Catholic in a row chosen by the Democrats as their Vice President pick – remarkable when you ponder there was never a Catholic VP before Biden.
Mike Pence, Donald Trump’s running mate of course was also raised Irish Catholic before he turned to evangelical but the two men have obviously much in common.
Both will become party front runners for the White House if the ticket goes down in flames. Equally both are young enough to run in eight years if their ticket takes the White House. We could see a day when an Irish evangelical faces an Irish Catholic for the top job.
“All changed, changed utterly” as Yeats might have said.

Genetic switch ‘could pave the way towards preventing asthma’



The research carried out at the University of Southampton, published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI) Insight, analysed the impact of the gene ADAM33, which is associated with the development of asthma.
ADAM33 makes an enzyme, which is attached to cells in the airway muscles.
When the enzyme loses its anchor to the cell surface, it is prone to going rogue around the lung causing poorer lung function in people who have asthma.
The studies in human tissue samples and mice, led by Hans Michel Haitchi, associate professor in respiratory medicine, suggests that if you switch off ADAM33 or prevent it from going rogue, the features of asthma – airway remodelling (more muscle and blood vessels around the airways), twitchiness and inflammation – will be reduced.
Prof Haitchi said: “This finding radically alters our understanding of the field, to say the least. For years we have thought that airway remodelling is the result of the inflammation caused by an allergic reaction, but our research tells us otherwise.”
The first study showed that rogue human ADAM33 causes airway remodelling resulting in more muscle and blood vessels around the airways of developing lungs, but it did not cause inflammation.
When a house dust mite allergen was introduced, which is a common human allergen, both airway remodelling and allergic airway inflammation were more significantly enhanced.
In another study, remodelling of the airway was shown in mice that had ADAM33 switched on in utero.
The gene was then switched off and the airway remodelling was completely reversed.
They also studied the impact of house the dust mite allergen on asthma features in mice which had the ADAM33 gene removed.
Airway remodelling and twitchiness as well as airway inflammation rates were significantly reduced by 50% and respectively 35% in mice which did not have the rogue gene.
Prof Haitchi, whose research was primarily funded by a Medical Research Council Clinician Scientist Fellowship, said: “Our studies have challenged the common paradigm that airway remodelling in asthma is a consequence of inflammation.
“Instead, we have shown that rogue human ADAM33 initiates airway remodelling that promotes allergic inflammation and twitchiness of the airways in the presence of allergen.
“More importantly, we believe that if you block ADAM33 from going rogue or you stop its activity if it does go rogue, asthma could be prevented.
“ADAM33 initiated airway remodelling reduces the ability of the lungs to function normally, which is not prevented by current anti-inflammatory steroid therapy.
“Therefore, stopping this ADAM33-induced process would prevent a harmful effect that promotes the development of allergic asthma for many of the 5.4 million people in the UK with the condition.”
Dr Samantha Walker, Asthma UK’s director of research and policy, said: “This is a really promising avenue of research that we have already agreed to help fund to its next stage, which is to understand exactly how this gene causes the changes seen in the lungs that lead to asthma.
“This will hopefully bring us even closer to stopping asthma attacks and finding a cure for the one in 11 people with asthma in the UK.
“Each day three people die of asthma attacks. Research like this is a step in the right direction although much more investment is needed.
“There are hundreds of thousands of people in the UK for whom current treatments don’t work and they struggle to breathe every day.
“Research like this will give us better avenues to explore why this is the case and to develop treatments that work.”

This is why you shouldn’t leave your smartphone on charge overnight



You could be destroying your smartphone by leaving it on charge overnight.
That’s according to the guys at Battery University who claim if your gadget is kept charging after reaching capacity, the battery’s chemistry could damage it.
This is because it would be in a constant ‘high-stress’ state, which is not good.
Lithium-ion (Li-ion) are widely used in smartphones (Picture: Getty images)
They argue it’s actually better never to fully charge your smartphone.
Instead, they recommend you do it at intervals as this extends the Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery’s lifespan.
These batteries are widely used in smartphones, including iPhones.
‘Li-ion does not need to be fully charged, nor is it desirable to do so,’ they wrote.
‘In fact, it is better not to fully charge, because a high voltage stresses the battery.’
So remember short bursts of charge could better than full ones.
The concept behind the argument is fully explained by the Battery Universityhere.

Minke whale carcass washes up on the Co Down shore



Work will begin on Monday to remove the carcass of a whale washed up on the Co Down shore. The 20ft whale is believed to be a minke whale which was washed up on the shore at Killough last Friday.
The animal was discovered on a stretch of the shore close to St John’s Point lighthouse by a passerby.
A team from Newcastle Coastguard Station was sent to the scene to measure and photograph the body.
It is believed the whale may have already been dead for a fortnight before coming ashore.
It is understood the dead whale had also been spotted by a local yacht crew on Thursday while still in the water.
Minke whales a common sight around Irish waters over the summer months.
Many of them migrate south from Scotland for food.
According to the Sea Watch Foundation, they are most densely populated along the Atlantic seaboard but are occasionally observed in the Irish Sea.
It said the animals tend to be solitary and rarely in groups of more than two or three.
Although estimates vary, it is thought there could be around 10,000 minke whales in the waters around Britain and Ireland and as many as one million worldwide.
The whale was one of two reported as stranded by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) in the past week.
A pilot whale was also found beached at Cliffoney Beach in Co Sligo.
Last October, the carcass of a 43ft juvenile fin whale washed up on Portstewart Strand in Co Derry.     

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