BUSINESS REACTION TO SNIP REPORT - The Government-appointed Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes unveiled its €5.3 billion of suggested cuts yesterday. Lots of public sector jobs should be cut, lots of money should be taken out of the social welfare budget and lots of government agencies should go.

Ian Talbot, chief executive of Chambers Ireland, said the plan to merge county enterprise boards with Enterprise Ireland appeared to envisage a 'super Enterprise Ireland' with local offices around the country.

Mr Talbot said that, ultimately, there would have to be some type of merger of Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland to make savings.

On proposals to halve the number of Garda stations, Mr Talbot said this would have to be done very carefully. He said the presence of a Garda station in a town could act as a deterrent against retail crime.

Asked about proposals to cut spending on tourism marketing, John Power, chief executive of the Irish Hotels Federation, said tourism would have to be at the forefront of any recovery. He said international marketing was the lifeblood of this, and should be seen as an investment, not a cost.

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