Opening Bell: EU warned against touching corporation tax, Dublin Bus drivers want better pay, sterling still falling

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A Fine Gael MEP has warned that Ireland would leave the EU if there was any attempt by the EU to raise Ireland's corporation tax rate.

Brian Hayes told the Irish Independent that corporate tax is a red line issue for the government.

The 12.5% rate undercuts other EU countries in seeking foreign direct investment, and Britain had been an ally in fighting tax harmonisation across Europe.

Mark Fielding from ISME says the government must do all it can to protect Irish business interests in the wake of Brexit.

Fielding says:

"A calming down effect needs to be put in place. We also cannot return to business as usual.

"From the government's point of view what we're saying is there really should be a dedicated unit put in place to coordinate the post-Brexit efforts, to make sure that all the government initiatives are focused in on the right area and a coordination of the strands."

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Irish farmers could see Brexit hit their profits as early as this summer, as the prices of cattle, grain and milk look set to fall.

Teagasc economist Dr Kevin Hanrahan has warned that the devaluation of sterling will hurt our exports.

He told the Irish Independent:

"It hasn't bounced back immediately and that makes Irish exports to the UK less competitive and makes British food exported to Ireland more competitive, in so far as competing with Irish goods in Irish shops," he said.

"It will lead almost certainly to lower cattle, milk and grain prices this summer - lower all around in just about everything."

Dr Hanrahan also forecast that over the medium to long term, there is likely to be a negative impact on our trade into the UK.

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Dublin Bus drivers are calling for a 30% pay rise as they seek "parity" with Luas drivers.

They want the 18.2% increase secured by Luas drivers, as well as another 12% to account for pay rises enjoyed by their Transdev counterparts in recent years.

The Labour Court is set to hear the pay claim on Thursday – an offer of a 6% increase over two years was previously rejected.

The National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) has argued that the terms and conditions granted to Luas drivers had been kept under a "veil of secrecy" prior to the recent action.

The NBRU's General Secretary Dermot O'Leary said:

"You can't treat one worker in the same sector different from another."

While O'Leary hopes industrial action will not be necessary, NBRU have not ruled it out.

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With Asian markets now open, sterling has continued to weaken against the US dollar.

Sterling has already fallen over 2.1%, meaning one pound is now worth $1.34.

The UK currency's poor early Monday performance follows a record crash after the Brexit result last Friday – sterling experienced a 10% dive as the UK voted to leave the EU, reaching its lowest levels since 1985.

Meanwhile, the pound is down 1.23% against the euro.