CRAFTS COUNCIL OF IRELAND EYES BIGGER EXPORTS SLICE - The Crafts Council of Ireland has launched a Strategic Plan for the crafts sector for the next three years, setting out to further develop international opportunities for Irish craft and design through the export market.

Karen Hennessy, chief executive of the Crafts Council of Ireland, says the sector is worth almost €500m to the economy and employs almost 6,000 people nationwide. Ms Hennessy says that currently about 25% of craft production is for the export market, while 75% for the domestic market. She says it is very important that the industry focuses on growing exports and to this end, the Council has launched its Strategic Plan for 2013-2015, which sets out the priorities for the development of the sector. The launch of the plan comes head of Showcase, the Creative Expo which has been running every year for the past 27 years. This year's show will be held on January 20 and will be attended by buyers from over 17 countries. The Council is also partnering with Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland on boosting the tourism potential for the craft and design sector.


MORNING BRIEFS - A trading statement out this morning from drinks group C&C reports improved trading performance in Ireland with volume growth in the third three months of the year following a weak summer trading period. It says the trading environment for long alcoholic drinks and cider in the UK remains very challenging. It says that despite the challenging trading and economic environment, it reaffirms its guidance of operating profit of between €112m to €118m.

*** Ryanair has said it is opening two new bases in Morocco this year - at Fez and Marrakech. The airline is growing its operations in Morocco to 60 routes and eight airports.

*** Agents CBRE are quoting around €200,000 for the 3.4 square metre (or 37 square foot) kiosk on the traffic island opposite the old Jurys Hotel in Dublin's Ballsbridge. It was bought for £132,000 in 1989 and was then withdrawn from the market in 1998 when offers didn't exceed £155,000, when £250,000 was sought. The hexagonal kiosk, which dates back to 1920, is let to a coffee business for two years from last April at a rent of €15,600 a year.

*** A new property index published today by Jones Lang LaSalle shows that commercial property values have fallen by 67% since they peaked in the third three months of 2007. And estate agent Lisney, in its review of last year, said residential property conditions improved significantly in 2012. Buyer sentiment was at its highest levels in six years and demand outstripped supply. Lisney said its Residential Value Index reached a bottom at the end of March last year. From peak to trough, it says values fell by 64% overall in Dublin with apartments and bigger houses falling by between 65% and 72%.

*** Japan's two main airlines have grounded their Boeing 787 Dreamliners after one was forced to make an emergency landing because of battery problems. Recently Dreamliners have experienced fuel leaks, a cracked cockpit window, brake problems and an electrical fire. And both Japanese and American authorities are carrying out reviews of the plane. Boeing's flagship new aeroplane and had attracted orders from many of the world's biggest and best-known airlines. The plane is said to be one of the most fuel efficient in the industry, and Boeing delivered 46 Dreamliners to customers last year.

*** French car maker Renault has said it is cutting 7,500 jobs in France, equivalent to 17% of the domestic workforce, over the next three years. It said the jobs losses are needed to lower its cost base - resulting in annual savings of €400m.