The briefcase

Here's everything you need to know about business this week

Everyone was talking about Ryanair’s U-turn, trains and automobiles, and the city-country divide.

whose briefcase ??? Kartik Malik Kartik Malik

EVERY WEEKEND, gives its readers the chance to put their feet up and take a look back at all the goings-on from the world of business.

Once again it’s time to delve deep inside The Briefcase for the important – and sometimes less-important – financial news that has come out this working week:

Ryanair performed a very abrupt – and bizarre – U-turn. The budget airline, known for its brash attitude and marketing stunts, announced on Monday its board had approved plans to develop its long-awaited transatlantic business. But after the story was picked up by media around the world, the airline did a quick about-face – putting out a brief statement to the stock market on Thursday saying it had “not considered or approved any transatlantic project and does not intend to do so”

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

We also learned a few things about trains and automobiles. Representatives from Irish Rail and the NRA dropped in to’s offices, where the roads authority confirmed it had been turning off lights on motorways to save money. Meanwhile, Irish Rail is overhauling its seat-booking system to make it more reliable for assigning names to spots

Ireland still has a big urban-regional divide. A report from the union-backed Neven Economic Research Institute (NERI) said the east of the country had experienced steady jobs growth since the crash, but the west and north had gone through “stagnation or decline”. The Department of Jobs later described the claims as “highly misleading”. A separate survey found people in Dublin were feeling much more positive about their prospects than the rest of the country

Irish Farmers Protests Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

New private health insurance rules were labelled “insane”. A penalty system for people taking out insurance after they turn 35 will start in May, but the man in charge of overseeing the industry seemed a bit confused about some of the details. The Health Insurance Authority had to clarify comments from its own chief executive after his appearance on Newstalk’s The Pat Kenny Show inspired the host to call the scheme “mad”

Media tycoon Denis O’Brien’s empire got a bit smaller. Both Independent News and Media, in which he owned the biggest share, and his private investment company sold out their stakes in Antipodean conglomerate APN News and Media. A fair part of the shares on offer were immediately snapped up by an even bigger fish, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation

Movie Animated GIF Giphy Giphy

Round two in the bun fight between McDonald’s and Supermac’s began. The world’s biggest fast-food chain lodged its official objection to the Irish company registering its name in Australia ahead of a planned expansion. It followed a similar move in Europe, where Supermac’s has flagged a push into the UK

Irish people ordered a lot more takeaway - through Denmark-founded service Just Eat, at least. The company, which is now run from London, reported its local ordered increased 58% last year to hit over 2 million. Globally, it took in €190 million – 62% more than in 2013

Another American Apparel ad was banned for sexualising children. This time the complaint to the UK’s advertising watchdog was over a model appearing on its site in a thong bodysuit. While the controversial US fashion label said the model was 20, the ad was still rejected because of her sexual pose and the likelihood viewers would thing she was under 16

1510961875_d54124b21c_z antjeverena antjeverena

And one for the road…

Greece’s leather-jacket wearing finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, has been rocking the boat with his unconventional approach ever since entering government with the anti-austerity Syriza party.

And he raised further eyebrows this week when a video showing him apparently giving the middle finger to Germany, the EU’s defacto paymaster, surfaced.

Varoufakis, for his part, denied the act, and later in the week the host of a German satirical TV show admitted the footage was doctored.

Here’s the Greek finance minister on German TV rejecting the video: “I have never given the finger. Ever.”

Michael Lang / YouTube

First published 7.45am, 21 March 

MORE: Have a look at our business wraps from previous weeks >

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.