Opening Bell: The Fed pulls the trigger, Kenny backs UK Euro-reforms, 56 vacancies remain unfilled at the Central Bank

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The Federal Reserve raised interest rates in the US for the first time since 2006 last night - indicating that it believes that the country has now left the 2007-2009 financial crisis behind.

Its benchmark interest rate is now set at 0.25% - this move ends a lengthy debate over whether the US economy's recovery is strong enough to support an increase in borrowing costs.

"With the economy performing well and expected to continue to do so, the committee judges that a modest increase in the federal funds rate is appropriate," Fed Chair Janet Yellen said after the announcement.

The Fed's policy statement said that there has been "considerable improvement" in the US labour market as unemployment fell to 5%.


The Taoiseach says Ireland will support Britain as much as it can to prevent its exit from the EU.

Enda Kenny and other EU leaders will begin talks with the British Prime Minister at a summit in Brussels later - but a deal is not going to be on the table until February.

The EU leaders summit will also focus on the refugee crisis.

Mr Kenny says it is in all of Europe's interest to do a deal with Britain:

"We will emphasise and support the Prime Minister where we can, by emphasising our particular interest in this, but also our unique economic relationship with the UK. What is required out of the discussion are the indications for the Prime Minister to get a strong and a saleable package that will benefit the members of the European Union."


In a written reply to a question from Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty, Michael Noonan has revealed that there are 56 vacancies at Ireland's Central Bank - that's a vacancy rate of 3%.

These jobs have been previously advertised, and are spread across 12 areas of the bank's operations - including a vacancy for a new deputy governor.

“While staff turnover remains comparatively low, it has been difficult to recruit and retain skilled staff in some areas. We are committed to recruiting high calibre staff who can assist us in delivering our regulatory mandate,” the bank said in a statement.


Four telecom companies are believed to be considering legal action against Eir.

The Irish Independent says that the company's rivals' grievances centre around the amount of time that it takes for customers to get phones and broadband modems connected.

They also say that communication with the company has been poor.

Vodafone, BT and Sky held talks with Comreg on Monday over these issues. "We are concerned more generally at the long lead times experienced by alternative operators in certain cases where they have requested new or amended regulated wholesale products from Eir," a spokesperson from the telecoms regulator said.

"We welcome Comreg's review of the wholesale governance model and look forward to fully participating in that process according to the timelines and terms of reference they set out," Eir said in a statement.