Opening Bell: BOI profits fall, prolonging Brexit, Ryanair's UK warning

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Bank of Ireland has reported an underlying profit of €1.07bn for 2016 - that's down from €1.2bn in 2015.

All of the Irish financial institution's trading divisions were profitable and the bank will pay a 2017 dividend in 2018.

BOI continued to be the largest lender to the Irish economy, its core loan book grew by €1.7bn.

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Germany and Italy have thrown their weight behind plans to rule out trade talks with the UK until negotiations surrounding its exit fee and the future status of British expats living across the union have been dealt with.

These countries support EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier's stance that the cost of leaving, which could be as much as €60bn, must be settled first - the UK has argued that there is no reason why trade negotiations cannot run parallel to this process.

As Article 50 is yet to be triggered, these remain soft stances, formal positions will not be taken until the Brexit process begins.

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Ryanair has renewed calls for the UK to move to clarify how its exit from the EU will affect current "Open Skies" agreements.

"If we don’t know this time next year, what are airlines going to do? ... Are we going to have to make significant capacity cuts?" Ryanair's chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said yesterday.

The Irish company has already shifted the focus of its growth plans away from the UK.

It has warned that growth at UK airports will fall from close to 10% last year to 2% next year.

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Irish mortgage holders could see their payments rise if Germany has its way.

The Head of the German Central Bank yesterday said improving economic conditions in Europe could justify a rise in ECB rates.

According to the Irish Independent the move could potentially affect 350,000 Irish borrowers with variable mortgages.The European Central Bank rate is currently set at zero.

The European Central Bank rate is currently set at zero.