Irish premier says "business as usual" at Anglo Irish Bank

Irish premier says "business as usual" at Anglo Irish BankDublin - Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen said Friday that it was "business as usual" at the nationalized Anglo Irish Bank as trading in its shares was suspended on the Dublin stock exchange, Irish national broadcaster RTE reported.

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said late Thursday that the Irish government would take complete control of Anglo Irish after it deemed a plan to inject cash into Ireland's third-largest bank "not now the appropriate and effective means to secure its continued viability."

Ireland seeks stronger business, trade ties with Japan

Ireland seeks stronger business, trade ties with Japan Tokyo - Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen on Wednesday urged Japan to make a stronger business and trade commitment to Ireland amid the global financial crisis, news reports said.

Cowen brought with him a trade mission of about 70 companies from Ireland to Tokyo for a six-day visit, along with Irish Trade and Commerce Minister John McGuinness.

"Ireland has a strong economic future beyond the present temporary difficulties by trying the right policies now," Cowen was quoted by Kyodo News Agency as saying at a press conference in Tokyo.

Waterford Wedgwood china producers call in administrator

Waterford-Wedgwood LogoDublin/London - Financially troubled prestige china and crystal firm Waterford Wedgwood announced Monday that parts of its business in Ireland and Britain had been placed into administration.

The Anglo-Irish group, with a history of 250 years, is best known for its Wedgwood pottery and Royal Doulton and Waterford crystal.

It said Monday receivers had been appointed to parts of its Irish business, based in Waterford, in the south of the Irish Republic, and in Stoke-on-Trent, in the county of Staffordshire in central England.

Irish writer, politician Conor Cruise O' Brien dies at 91

Conor Cruise O'BrienDublin - Irish writer, academic and politician Conor Cruise O'Brien has died at the age of 91, national broadcaster RTE reported Friday.

Born in 1917 in Dublin in an Ireland that was still part of the British Empire to a journalist father and teacher mother, O'Brien's early career was as a civil servant in the foreign ministry.

He became a special representative for the United Nations to the Democratic Republic of Congo in the early 1960s and wrote To Katanga and Back in 1962 about Katanga province's secession from the newly independent DR Congo.

Think tank issues gloomiest outlook yet for Irish economy

Dublin - A Dublin-based think tank issued its gloomiest outlook yet for the Irish economy Friday, forecasting a drop in economic activity of 4.6 per cent in 2009 and a jump in unemployment to almost 10 per cent.

"The Irish economy is in the midst of a contraction that is large by both historic and international comparisons," the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) said in a statement.

Ireland's gross national product, which does not include net investment from abroad, is expected to fall by 2.6 per cent this year before slumping by 4.6 per cent next year.

Investment in Ireland would drop by 19.3 per cent in 2009, the ESRI forecast, while consumption would drop 3.6 per cent.

Irish Prime Minister launches plan for economic recovery

Irish Prime Minister launches plan for economic recoveryDublin  - Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen launched a programme for the recovery of Ireland's economy on Thursday, with a 500-million-euro (730 million dollars) venture capital fund to boost enterprise, during a press conference at Dublin Castle.

The plan, called Building Ireland's Smart Economy, is to re- orientate the national economy toward what Cowen called the knowledge economy, as well as wind and wave energy.