Opening Bell: Taoiseach talks Brexit in Belfast, Dalata against minimum wage increase, UK rush on Irish passports

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The head of Ireland’s biggest hotel group has warned against an increase in the Irish minimum wage.

Pat McCann told the Irish Independent that the proposed 25% increase could divert investment to the UK.

McCann said having to pay workers €11.50 an hour would have a knock-on effect across the hotel group, and affect future investment decisions.

A report over the weekend suggested that the Low Pay Commission could back increasing the current minimum wage of €9.15 per hour to €11.50.

The LPC is preparing a recommendation for Government. While unions are supporting the move, businesses are concerned it will hurt the country’s competitiveness.

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The Taoiseach Enda Kenny will take part in a panel discussion on the UK’s Brexit vote in Belfast this afternoon.

At an address in Ulster University, Kenny will warn that Ireland’s economic stability and growth will be threatened should Britain decide to leave the European Union.

The Taoiseach will join British Prime Minister David Cameron in Manchester later this week to campaign for a ‘Remain’ vote. He will also visit Liverpool and Glasgow.

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There has been a major rise in Irish passport applications from England, Scotland and Wales in the run-up to the Brexit referendum.

There were 1,901 applications in the first five months of the year, an increase of 25% over the same period in 2015.

April saw a 42% alone.

According to Sky News, Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan said his department has had “an unprecedented level of applications."

The Passport Office has hired over 200 new staff on a temporary basis to take care of the demand.

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Britain could be facing power shortages this winter, reports the Financial Times, with tight electricity supplies pushing up prices.

According to new figures from Enappsys, the UK's National Grid will face an even tougher challenge keeping the lights on than last year, when it took emergency measures for the first time.

New figures from Enappsys, which monitors wholesale electricity market data, shows that generators will likely be able to charge dozens of times the usual wholesale price, which will be passed on to consumers.

If demand is the same as Winter 2015, there will be 85 hours this winter when there is less than 2GW of spare capacity. There will be 12 hours when demand will exceed standard capacity, meaning last-resort measures will have to be taken.

The National Grid told the Financial Times:

"Margins for this winter look tight but manageable and we believe we have the tools in place to manage the system.

"Historically the market has always responded to periods of lower margins and we expect this winter to be no different."