Opening Bell: S&P criticises Ireland's Central Bank, Kenny letter reveals IBRC investigation details, oil dips below $30

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International credit rating agency, Standards & Poor (S&P) has questioned the effectiveness of Ireland's Central Bank in regulating the insurance industry.

Following the fall of Setanta Insurance, the bailing out of Ireland's largest general insurer, RSA, and the failure of Quinn Insurance, S&P has been critical of the Central Bank's handling of these adverse situations.

"We believe that the track record of the regulator raises questions over its effectiveness," the ratings agency said in a report on Ireland's motor insurance industry.

S&P made reference to the collapse of Quinn, saying, "While we consider risk management and governance weaknesses to be the main cause of the bank's collapse, we also think that stronger regulation could have helped address the issues sooner."

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Enda Kenny has warned opposition leaders that the investigation into IBRC could end up becoming as long-running and expensive as a Tribunal of Inquiry.

The warning comes in a 12-page private letter outlining the legal options for reviving it.

The letter also outlines plans to bring forward the investigation into the sale of SiteServ to businessman Denis O'Brien - which would still take almost 12 months.

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Brent crude oil dipped below $30 per barrel for the first time since 2004 last night as the global supply glut continues.

Hope of addressing market imbalances have been hurt by a falling out between Iran and Saudi Arabi, making OPEC cooperation less likely.

Nigeria's oil minister said on Tuesday that some OPEC members had requested an emergency meeting to counter falling prices. Yesterday the Iranian oil minister said that he had not received any request for such a gathering to be arranged.

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Al-Jazeera has announced that its US news channel Al Jazeera America (AJAM) is to shut down by April - less than three years after it was launched.

AJAM CEO Al Anstey made the announcement in a memo to staff, saying the decision was "driven by the fact that our business model is simply not sustainable in light of the economic challenges in the US media marketplace."

Operations will cease by April 30th, but Mr Anstey said, "we will continue to show America why AJAM has won respect and the fierce loyalty of so many of our viewers."

Last month the channel was at the centre of controversy after NFL star Peyton Manning said he will "probably" sue the network after a documentary released by Al-Jazeera's investigative division claimed the athlete was involved in a doping ring with various other professional athletes. Mr Manning has said the report was "totally made up."