Opening Bell: AIB's Goldman Sachs sale, Eric Trump in Ireland, Britain's 'great self-harm'

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AIB has agreed to sell a portfolio of around 1,500 non-performing buy-to-let property loans to Goldman Sachs.

The investment banking titan secured the portfolio for €200m, representing roughly half the original gross value of the loans.

AIB announced yesterday that it is now contacting borrowers to inform them of the loan transfer, which is tied to 1,200 homes.

The Project Cypress deal comes as AIB prepares to return to the stock exchange later this year. The near €3bn flotation will reduce the Government's stake in AIB by 25%.

The Irish Independent reports that the sale to Goldman Sachs will raise concerns among tenants about how the new owners plan to recoup their investment.

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Ireland's top Brexit official has admitted that the nation is slowly realising it has committed "an act of great self-harm".

According to The Irish Times, John Callinan said on Thursday:

"I see signs in the contacts that we're having, both at EU level and with the UK, of a gradual realisation that Brexit in many ways is an act of great self-harm, and that the focus now is on minimising that self-harm."

The second secretary-general at the Department of the Taoiseach made the comments at a Brexit seminar organised by trade unions Impact and Siptu.

Mr Callinan added that there is "no single, settled position" on the EU withdrawal in London, revealing the divisions that exist across the Irish Sea:

"Even within the British government, there are very different views."

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Another hectic travel weekend is underway across the country this morning.

Dublin Airport is expecting its busiest ever Easter.

Passengers are being told to check which terminal they're flying from in advance and to arrive at least 90 minute before departure.

Siobhan O'Donnell from the DAA says over 340,000 people are expected to be passing through the building:

"It's a record Easter bank holiday weekend, passenger traffic is up 12%, so that's quite significant.

"We'll have over 2,300 flights arriving and departing from Good Friday until the Bank Holiday Monday.

"Good Friday is set to be the busiest day of the bank holiday, with just under 100,000 passengers expected to arrive and depart through the airport."

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The son of US President Donald Trump has spoken of his father's great affection for Ireland, during a trip to the family's Doonbeg resort.

Eric Trump, who has taken over the running of the hotel and golf course, told Clare FM:

"My father loves this country, loves this hotel, he loves this place, loves everything this symbolises. I would love to see this and everything we have accomplished and it would be great to have him here. If he is able to make it here, it would be great to have him."

The younger Trump also reaffirmed the family's commitment to the resort, despite the problems it has faced with its plans for coastal defences. Developers have said that a Clare county council request for more information could delay the project by six months.

Mr Trump said:

"It is frustrating the delays but we want things done correctly, none wants to see the sea wash the golf course away. Without the golf course you won’t have the hotel. Yes you want to see things happen faster but at the same time I understand process.