Daily Digest

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HSE spent €28m on taxis last year (Irish Examiner)

The HSE spent over €76,000 on taxis every day last year. That is according to figures obtained by Newstalk under the Freedom of Information Act. The data shows the executive spent €27.9 million on taxis across the organisation last year. The HSE says in many cases taxis are being used to transfer patients between hospitals and, at times, for the transfer of patient charts and files between hospitals. "I don't believe the HSE has done a value for money audit," claimed Sinn Fein's Health Spokesperson Louise O'Reilly. "I don't believe it that represents good value for money to be using taxis in this way. "I also don't believe that the HSE has an excuse for not investing in good quality ambulances and good quality personnel to staff those ambulances, most cancer support centres like Purple House have a team of volunteer drivers and these are people that are trained in areas of informal counselling and cancer care," he outlined.” Read more: 

Medtech company to create 100 jobs in Limerick (Business World)

Minister of State for Trade, Employment and Business, Pat Breen today announced that Johnson & Johnson Vision Care (Ireland) will be adding approximately 100 new roles as part of about a €100m expansion of its manufacturing operations at its site in the National Technology Park, Plassey, Limerick. Approximately 200 additional workers are expected to be employed in the construction phase of the expansion to the company’s Vision Care facility. Johnson & Johnson Vision aims to bring improved eyesight to people through research, development and manufacturing of new medical device technologies. The company believe that the new manufacturing roles being introduced in Limerick in 2019 will be foundational in helping bring new, innovative contact lens products to patients and customers around the world at an industry-leading pace. Read more:

100 new jobs on way to west Belfast in £3m retail investment (Belfast Tel)

Around 100 retail jobs are to be created in west Belfast in a £3 million project as two discount chains expand into the Park Centre on Donegall Road. The shopping centre's owners Latt Ltd said the opening of Home Bargains and a larger B&M Stores was a "massive boost". B&M is relocating to a unit three times the size of the premises it had been occupying, while Home Bargains is opening in the centre for the first time. The growth of the two chains comes despite falling retail sales across the UK as a whole The BRC (British Retail Consortium)-KPMG retail sales monitor said total sales fell by 0.5% year on year in March, compared with a 2.3% annual increase seen in March 2018. The chains will open in separate spaces in a unit formerly occupied by Dunnes. SocGen Said to Weigh Thousands of Investment Bank Job Cuts. B&M already has a smaller unit within the centre but is moving to larger premises. The discounters will occupy over 40,000 sq ft of space in total when they open in late summer. A spokesman for Latt said there had been a £1m investment by each of the retailers, while £1m had been invested by the landlord. Latt director Stephen McGeown said: "The Park Centre is located in a prime retail position in south-west Belfast, beside the Westlink and the M1 and close to the Royal Victoria Hospital. Read more:

Debenhams on brink of administration (BBC)

Debenhams is on the brink of administration after it rejected a new offer from Sports Direct, made in the early hours of Tuesday, to pump £200m into the department store. Its shares were then suspended before Tuesday's trading, at its own request. Debenhams is likely to go into pre-pack administration, under which shops would continue trading but the business would come under the control of its lenders. On Monday, it rejected a £150m offer from Mike Ashley's company. The overnight offer was turned down because Mr Ashley wanted to be chief executive. It would have seen Sports Direct underwrite the raising of £200m by issuing new shares, higher than its previous proposal. A pre-pack administration lets a company sell itself, or its assets, as a going concern, without affecting the operation of the business. Administrators take over the running of the business to protect creditors and shareholders lose their investments. If Debenhams does use a pre-pack administration, Mr Ashley's near 30% stake in the company, which cost about £150m to build up, would be wiped out. While the shops would continue trading for now, Debenhams has proposed closing around 50 branches from next year and renegotiating rents with landlords to tackle its funding problems. Read more: 

And Finally..

Google Wing drone deliveries get green light in Australia (Sky News)

The company's autonomous drones project has taken a crucial step forward, but there is still quite some distance to go. A drone-delivery firm owned by Google's parent company, Alphabet, has been given the green light to take to the skies above Australia. Wing, as the project is known, is an autonomous delivery drone service which aims to reduce traffic congestion in cities, increase access to goods in rural areas, and help ease CO2 emissions It has been trialling deliveries for the last 18 months in both the US and Australia, but has now been approved for ongoing commercial delivery operations by Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). According to Wing, during the trial period it had been using its drones to deliver "food and drinks, over-the-counter chemist items, and locally made coffee and chocolate". It made roughly 3,000 deliveries over this period while being inspected by CASA, with the regulators keen to see if the drones posed a risk to the public. Read more: