Opening Bell: Iseq’s worst year since 2010 bailout, unwanted gifts, expanding tourism

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The Irish stock market is set to end the year down from where it started, the first time this has happened since Ireland was bailed out in 2010.

Brexit fears, the crisis facing Italian banks and China’s slowdown have all contributed to the slump in the Iseq index of shares, the Irish Independent reports.

Though it rallied nearly 23% after the initial Brexit stock over the summer, it is still over 4% down on where it was at the end of 2015.

On Wednesday, the Iseq fell by as much as 0.5% in early trading.

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People are being reminded to return or exchange unwanted gifts as soon as possible after Christmas.

The Consumers' Association of Ireland says shops are not obliged to offer a refund unless an item is faulty.

However, some shops will give you a refund or exchange with a valid receipt.

Dermot Jewell from the Consumers' Association of Ireland said

“The bottom line of it is, if there’s nothing wrong with the item, generally you’re not entitled to bring it back at all.

"But at Christmas time and just post-Christmas, the shops for goodwill reasons and also that they want to keep good custom, will do their best within a 28 day-period at maximum to exchange it or do something to help you.”

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A range of roles will be on offer at jobs fairs around the country today.

Recruitment consultants Collins McNicholas will present jobs available in various industries – including science, engineering and IT – at the "Home for Work" events in Cork, Athlone, Galway and Sligo.

People are being encouraged to explore the roles on offer, even if they've no immediate plans to come home.

Director of Collins McNicholas, Michelle Murphy, has this advice:

"Come and talk to our consultants – we’re all expert consultants at hand today – and they will be able to advise you as to exactly the types of requirements that each company has. And go into the nitty-gritty about the type of background, the experience, the skills, the qualifications, so that we can work with you in designing your CV and having it ready to move forward in the process so that you can represent you to these clients.”

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The Irish Tourist Industry Confederation (ITIC) predicts that the tourism sector will grow by 50% by the year 2025.

The group is launching its long-term strategy for the industry for the coming years.

However, the ITIC says the Government needs to invest in transport links between the regions, as well as upgrades to certain tourist attractions.

ITIC chairman Paul Gallagher has said there is huge potential for growth in the industry:

"We see Irish tourism growing by about 50% between now and 2025. In layman's terms, that's about another 50,000 new jobs in hospitality in Ireland. And that's €7bn then in receipts to the Exchequer.

"I suppose what's really unique about tourism is it spreads to every region in Ireland and every small town and village in Ireland have a role and part to play in developing and satisfying guests' needs when it comes to tourism, both domestic and overseas."