Opening Bell: Investors concerned about new mortgage bill, Irish food and drink sector fears Brexit, AIB goes solar

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The Department of Finance has claimed that Fianna Fáil's proposed mortgage legislation is causing concern among investors, the Irish Independent reports.

The department has received "lots of queries" about the proposal to allow the Central Bank to regulate mortgage interest rates and how it could impact on Ireland as a location for foreign direct investment (FDI).

This was revealed in minutes of the June meeting of the Principals Group, an inter-agency gathering of senior officials from the Department of Finance, Central Bank and the National Treasury Management Agency (NAMA).

For its part, Fianna Fáil believes the bill – which has yet to be enacted – will put pressure on banks to cut "excessive rates".

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has raised potential constitutional difficulties with the bill, which is due to go to Committee stage in the Dáil.

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Food and Drink Industry Ireland (FDII) has warned that thousand of Irish jobs are at risk in the sector if the Government fails to introduce measures to mitigate the impact of Brexit.

FDII, which is affiliated with employers' group Ibec, said in a new report that it was "crucial that Irish firms don't lose out" as UK buyers review their supply chains following the UK's decision to leave the European Union and the subsequent fall in the value of sterling.

Britain is Ireland's largest trading partner when it comes to food and drink, and the weakened sterling has made euro-denominated costs less competitive for British businesses.

The report calls for an "immediate policy response" that should include tax reforms in a "Brexit-proofed Budget 2017 and the reintroduction of the Employment Subsidy Scheme.

It also wants a Department of Finance-led task force to be established, to help safeguard the sector, and €25 million to be put aside to help firms diversify and fund product innovation.

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AIB is set to equip the roof space of its Dublin headquarters with solar cells, creating one of the State's largest solar energy installations.

The bank is teaming up with energy firm Power Capital to retrofit its Bankcentre campus in Ballsbridge, according to the Irish Times.

The system will span over 2,700 sq m of roof area and include the first solar car port in the State.

It should generate enough energy to power 1,410 computers, or the equivalent of 40 houses, and will reduce AIB's carbon footprint by 115 tonnes annually.

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60 new jobs are to be created by an accountancy company with offices in Dublin, Enniscorthy and Cork.

Baker Tilly International – a network of accountancy and business advisory firms – has admitted Hughes Blake as its member firm in Ireland.

The positions will be filled over the next three years.

Managing Partner Neil Hughes said:

"The roles will be across all the practice areas, including audit, tax, advisory, corporate finance and corporate recovery."