Opening Bell: Bank of Ireland facing €60m claim, Brexit could squeeze fiscal space, LSE praises Irish firms

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Bank of Ireland is facing a €60m-plus claim to compensate British and Irish investors who bought buy-to-let properties.


The case will potentially be taken on behalf of Irish and British investors who bought buy-to-let properties with tracker mortgages.

A change in the margin on Bank of Ireland's tracker mortgages more than doubled repayments for many investors and campaigner Mark Alexander is claiming that Bank of Ireland is in breach of contract.

Alexander spearheaded the campaign that resulted in a win against West Bromwich Building Society in a similar case last week.

He says his group has half the funds required to bring Bank of Ireland before the courts. Some 13,000 investors are involved.

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Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe has said that a Brexit would have a negative impact on Irish economic growth and limit the amount of 'fiscal space' available to the State.

Speaking on the Irish Times Business Podcast, the Minister claimed the "huge" uncertainty that a 'Leave' result in the UK referendum next week would generate would greatly impact government forecasts on the the public expenditure that would be available to us.

He told Arthur Beasley:

"The fiscal space is a consequence of how your economy is growing and how you manage your national finances, so if there were to be change in the rate of economic growth it would likely have an impact on the fiscal space."

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The London Stock Exchange (LSE) has hailed a number of Irish firms as "inspiring".

The inaugural 1,000 Companies to Inspire Europe report was launched yesterday, with the LSE singling out 21 Irish companies for particular praise.

More than 25% of those came from the manufacturing and engineering sectors.

Among the 21 firms cited were Sligo technical and engineering firm LotusWorks, Dublin construction contractor Ardmac and Waterford's Radley Engineering.

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The US Federal Reserve announced that it would not raise its interest rates on Wednesday.

The central bank did, however, signal that it still planned to increase rates twice in 2016. Looking ahead, the Fed forecast that sluggish economic growth would hinder monetary policy.

Its policy report stated that it expected US labour market to continue strengthening despite a weak jobs report last month. Its decision to leave interest rates as they are was made, in part, to ensure that May slowdown is only temporary.

The Fed said it "continues to closely monitor inflation indicators and global economic and financial developments" and identified a 'Leave' result in next week's Brexit referendum as an imminent potential risk to the global economy.