Opening Bell: Taoiseach against NAMA inquiry, Irish competitiveness in doubt, French President to talk Brexit in Ireland

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny has rejected claims that he will establish a commission of inquiry into the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), calling yesterday's reports of the move "utterly speculative".

According to the Irish Examiner, Kenny confirmed "there is no investigation taking place".

Speaking as he announced the establishment of an economic taskforce for Dublin's North inner city yesterday, the Taoiseach said that he had received no evidence from Independent TD Mick Wallace that would change his view from what he has already said in the Dáil.

Wallace, who has been vocal in his criticism for NAMA's dealing, particularly the Project Eagle sale, told the Irish Examiner last night that he is indeed in discussions with "groups" about setting up such an inquiry.

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The National Competitive Council has warned that Ireland's hopes for full employment and lasting recovery are "under serious and imminent threat".

The council's annual report has warned that factors such as the weakened euro and low energy prices make for an uncertain future for the country.

It also cited the UK's decision to leave the European Union as an economic challenge that needs "a determined response to enhance Ireland's national competitiveness".

The National Competitive Council is calling for investment in infrastructure to support essential public services, and increased support for innovation and productivity.

The report stated:

“As a small open economy, external threats such as financial market volatility and the fragile global economy are now exacerbated by the uncertain consequences of the British decision to leave the EU.

"All of the countries with whom we trade, and compete for Foreign Direct Investment (fdi) are also striving to improve their business environments.

“We need a relentless focus on reform and on continuing to improve Ireland’s competitiveness performance in areas that can be influenced by domestic policy action."

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The Central Bank is set to put its Dame Street headquarters and two other premises on Dublin's College Green on the market in the coming months.

According to Irish Independent sources, the sales could make the bank as much as €60m.

The main Central Bank building, officially opened in 1979, could sell for over €40m alone.

Along with the 6-8 College Green and 9 College Green premises, it is expected to become available through Lisney estate agents in the autumn.

The Central Bank is planning to move into its new headquarters on North Wall Quay by the end of 2016.

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French President François Hollande will visit Ireland today, meeting Taoiseach Enda Kenny to discuss the fallout of the UK's Brexit vote.

The visit had been arranged before last week's terror attack in Nice, and it's now likely that security issues will be a bigger topic of discussion between Hollande and Enda Kenny.

Mr Hollande is also due to meet with President Michael D Higgins during his one day visit.

Last week the French ambassador to the Republic of Ireland said it's critically important that Ireland retains strong trade links with France in a post-Brexit Europe.

The visit of President Hollande so soon after the vote and despite the tragedy in Nice is being seen as an indicator of how seriously the French government views the Brexit decision and its impact on both countries.