Video: Permanent TSB raises fixed mortgage rates, Twitter's Dublin office temporarily closed

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Kenneth Fox

Fixed mortgage rates increase

Permanent TSB has become the latest Irish lender to raise rates in response to recent European Central Bank changes.

The bank said fixed-term mortgages for new customers will rise by an average of 0.45 per cent, following three rounds of interest rate increases from the ECB in recent months.

Anyone who has already been approved for a new mortgage by the bank will be given 90 days to draw down the loan at the current lower rate, but it will increase from February 15th.

The increases will range from 0.05 per cent to 0.9 per cent depending on the length of the fixed-term mortgage, the size of the loan and the size of the loan relative to the value of the property in question.

Twitter offices

Twitter has temporarily closed its offices in Dublin and elsewhere as more staff chose to leave, sparking new concerns about the site’s ability to stay online.

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According to reports in the US, the social media giant has closed its offices until Monday over fears disgruntled staff could sabotage the company.

It comes after hundreds of workers are said to have rejected an ultimatum from new owner Elon Musk to sign up for longer, more intense working hours in order to build a new “hardcore” Twitter – Mr Musk said those who did not sign up would be let go.

Hospital scrutiny

Underperforming consultants and managers in some of the country's worst hospitals have been “targeted” in recent weeks and asked to account for their failures.

As the Irish Examiner reports, using performance-tracking data, The Minister of Health Stephen Donnelly and his officials have been touring the most overcrowded hospitals and speaking directly to managers as to why problems are not being resolved.

Government ministers, angered by a lack of progress in a number of hospitals, including Cork University Hospital (CUH) and University Hospital Limerick (UHL), have blamed managers for the poor performance, amid record levels of overcrowding and long waiting lists.

Under mounting political pressure at a time of a record €23 billion spend on health, ministers say the managers are “unable or unwilling” to deliver.

Russian sanctions

Russian sanctions on 52 Irish politicians and officials are a "very unwelcome distraction" and an effort to unsettle Ireland and its political system, the Minister for Foreign Affairs has said.

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Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Simon Coveney said Ireland should not play this game and should focus attention on holding Russia to account for its actions in Ukraine.

On Wednesday Russia’s foreign ministry said that it had put Irish politicians and officials on a “stop list”, barring their entry to the country. The list includes Mr Coveney and Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Justice Helen McEntee.

Qatar alcohol sales

In a major reversal, Qatar's World Cup organisers will announce on Friday that no alcoholic beer will be sold to fans at stadium sites, a source with knowledge of the decision told Reuters.

The expected announcement comes two days before Sunday's kickoff of the World Cup, the first to be held in a conservative Muslim country with strict controls on alcohol, the consumption of which is banned in public.

"A larger number of fans are attending from across the Middle East and South Asia, where alcohol doesn’t play such a large role in the culture,” the source said on condition of anonymity because he was speaking ahead of an announcement.

"The thinking was that, for many fans, the presence of alcohol would not create an enjoyable experience."

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