Opening Bell: US & Ireland talk 'Double Tax', public & private sector pay gap, Tim Cook celebrates five years at Apple

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Minister for Jobs Mary Mitchell O'Connor has said she's hopeful that eBay staff in Dundalk set to lose their jobs next year will be able to get alternative employment.

The company announced yesterday that it is to shut its Louth base in the second quarter of 2017, costing 150 jobs.

eBay has confirmed a formal consultation with employees will begin shortly and its Blanchardstown facility in Dublin is not affected.

O'Connor commented:

"They will be highly attractive as well to other companies. What I would say is that I have met with the IDA and I have asked our agencies – that's the IDA and Enterprise Ireland also – to work with the workers there, to work with the employees, to work with the company, and to make sure that those people that are losing the jobs will be looked after, will be offered other jobs. "

Meanwhile, Labour Senator Ged Nash believes jobs will be relocated outside the country:

"My understanding now is that not only are these jobs lost to Dundalk, County Louth, but they're lost to Ireland as well. And the likelihood is that these jobs would relocate to other eBay facilities, possibly across Europe. That hasn't been confirmed but that's certainly the sense that I get."

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Talks are underway between US and Irish government officials as they attempt to update elements of the Double Tax treaty that exists between the two countries.

The Department of Finance and the Revenue Commissioners want public submissions from interested parties on the updated US Model Tax Treaty from an Irish perspective, the Irish Independent reports.

The current treaty was established in 1997, with a protocol signed in 1999.

Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath is calling on the Government to ensure that a new deal does not affect Ireland's attractiveness to foreign investors.

He said:

“It’s right that we seek to update the Double Taxation Treaty with the US, as the world of finance has grown considerably more complex since it was signed in 1997.

“We must, however, ensure that we remain as open as possible to Foreign Direct Investment from US Multinationals. They are a source of significant employment in Ireland, and provide considerable tax receipts to the Exchequer every year.”

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The pay gap between public and private sector wages now stands at 40%, according to new figures on earnings from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

While those in the private sector saw their weekly earnings rise 1.5% to €635.32 in the second quarter, average public sector pay fell from €917.24 in the second quarter of 2015 to €905.97 this year.

This decline was chiefly attributed to the temporary recruitment of field staff for the 2016 Census. Excluding temporary staff, average weekly earnings in the sector dropped 0.3% to €914.58.

Overall, average weekly earnings rose marginally over the same period last year. The average weekly earning in the country was €703.83 in the second quarter.

That represented a marginal rise of 0.5% on 2015, but a 1.3% drop when compared with the first three months of 2016.

Information and communication technology is the most lucrative sector in Ireland, with average weekly pay put at €1,063.39.

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As Tim Cook celebrated five years as Apple's chief executive this week, Bloomberg revealed that he has received $373 million (€330.6m) in shares during that period.

This is 98.6% of the units that were available to him during his first half-decade, and he now stands to earn the same amount again for the rest of his tenure.

Cook has exercised or sold some of those options to net himself approximately $200m.He has also been paid salary and other benefits amounting to about $30m.

The company's stock has doubled during his time at the helm, with the S&P 500 Index up 84.5%.

The anniversary also enables Cook to unlock previously-awarded stock bonuses, currently worth over $100m.

When he was appointed in 2011, the CEO voluntarily switched his bonus contract to a performance-based one rather than laying out specific installments over the course of his 10-year term.

Cook has previously said that most of it would go to charity, and that he would pay off his nephew's education.