Opening Bell: Renting crisis, Apple case fast-tracked, Facebook stops collecting Whatsapp data

Get up to speed with today's breaking Irish and international business news

The government needs to make properties cheaper to build and fill vacant homes to tackle the renting crisis, according to a leading economist.

It comes as the latest Daft report reveals that the average rent has now reached an all-time high of 1,077 euro.

This is an increase of 11.7 per cent on last year - making it the largest ever annual increase.

Report author Ronan Lyons says the outlook is poor because the situation should have been tackled long ago:

"Unfortunately for renters and for the general competitiveness of the economy, it's unlikely we're going to see rent falling any time soon. And, indeed, it's likely we're going to see rent continuing to rise, maybe not as quickly as the last six months. But all the pressure is there, with the population increasing and with a lack of new supply, I think we'll be saying both in three months' time – and indeed six months' time – that rents are still increasing.

______________________________________________________

Irish Water’s proposed Shannon-Dublin water pipe will affect over 500 landowners, the Irish Times reports.

A number of farmers, as well as tourism and environmental interests in the Lough Derg area are expected to oppose the €1.2 billion plan.

Published today, the 170km pipe route would run from Parteen Basin through Tipperary and Offaly to Peamount in west Dublin.

Irish Water is arguing that population and industry demands mean the pipe – which is the first new major water source upgrade for Dublin and the eastern midlands for 60 years – is very much needed.

______________________________________________________

The Commercial Court will fast-track the legal challenge to Apple’s planned data centre in County Galway.

Lawyers for Apple Distribution International successfully applied to have the case added to the fast-track list on Monday, with director Catherine Kearney calling for the action against the granting of planning permission for a €850m development near Athenry to be heard “as expeditiously as possible”.

Sinéad Fitzpatrick and Allan Daly initiated the case in the High Court last month, claiming that An Bórd Pleanála failed to carry out a proper environmental impact assessment before giving it the green light.

Apple is now set to apply to have a separate action brought by a Wicklow landowner Brian McDonagh transferred to the Commercial Court. That will be decided when the matter returns before the court next Monday.

______________________________________________________

Facebook has agreed to hold off collecting data from WhatsApp users.

Changes to the messaging service's policy were announced in August – but European watchdogs don't believe users know enough about what will happen to their information.

The UK's Information Commissioner has said she will work closely with Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner in efforts to address concerns with WhatsApp's new privacy policy.