Opening Bell: Rising costs put the recovery at risk, tech jobs for Dublin, McDonald's French tax bill

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Irish businesses are paying 80% more than the euro zone average for small and medium sized commercial loans according to the National Competitiveness Council.

The body, which advises the Government on economic trends, has published its Cost of Doing Business in Ireland report, it warns that escalating costs could be putting Ireland's recovery at risk.

It also says that the return of spiralling property prices poses a risk to the economy as a whole.

The report is also critical of the high cost of childcare, insurance, transport, legal costs and energy - and warns of the dangers of increasing levels of industrial unrest.

It found that consumer prices in Ireland are 20% higher than the euro zone average.

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100 digital marketing jobs have been announced for Dublin.

Search Optics is creating the new positions over the next two years, at its newly opened European and Middle Eastern and African headquarters in Dublin 8.

The company, which was set up in the US, already employs 15 people here.

Brendan O'Brien of Search Optics said the company is "looking to quickly expand the business in Ireland, contributing to employment levels and the continuing success of the country. I believe that we now have an even brighter future ahead of us."

The announcement has been welcomed by acting Jobs Minister Richard Bruton, who said, "having companies like Search Optics here helps us to attract other international tech companies to come to Ireland, and to grow our own Irish tech start-ups". 

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The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, which was established just over 16 months ago to invest the close to €7.5bn remaining in the National Pension Reserve Fund, says it’s in advanced discussions with, or has committed to, 53 different investment opportunities with a combined value of €2.4bn.

The Fund, which will host what it calls an engagement meeting with over 600 people in Dublin this morning says, it expects to commit over €750m to additional investments here during the current year and is open to commercial ideas from all parties.

It is targeting a minimum average return of 4% from its entire investment stable and has invested in capital development projects; SME loan support projects, and recently in association with Glanbia an initiative to offer loan support in the dairy sector.

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McDonald's has been sent a bill for taxes which it is being accused of not paying in France as part of a broader crackdown on profit shifting and tax avoidance by multinational companies in the country.

The Financial Times quotes sources who are familiar with the situation who say that the French finance ministry has taken issue with the amount of money that the French operation is paying to its Luxembourg-based affiliate.

Reports in France suggest that the company could face a €300m payout - including €100m in fines.