The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment, Mary Harney, has promised taxation changes to encourage more employers to give workers company share options. She says that this issue will form a significant part of the negotiations on a new National Wage Agreement.

Mary Harney was in Shannon today for the official opening of the Teles Ireland plant. It manufactures telecommunications products for the European and international market and promises to employ 250 people over the next three years. 90% of those will be graduates and the company has a heavy R&D input. The plant in Shannon will be the groups only manufacturing facility worldwide, making it an extremely important part of the group, and responsible for a sizeable part of its revenue. It will offer stock options which the company says will help it hold employees and avoid a labour shortage. The Tánaiste believes that this option should be explored by a lot more companies and has hinted at tax changes to facilitate this.

Elsewhere in the Midwest, the pharmaceutical and baby food giant Wyeth is marking 25 years in Ireland. It employs 1700 people n four factories in Ireland, the largest of which at Askeaton in Limerick has 500 employees. It is now one of Ireland largest exporters, shipping out over £675m worth of products a year. It is currently in merger discussions with Warner Lambert which, if successful, could make it the world's largest pharmaceutical company and could mean a jobs expansion at its Irish plants in the future.

The global software company, Oracle, is to provide 400 jobs at a new international e-business centre for Dublin. The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, described the jobs as "a strategically important win for Ireland".