€4.7 BILLION TO BE INVESTED IN WIND ENERGY OVER THE NEXT SEVEN YEARS - Ireland is on track to meet its obligations under EU law to have 40% of all electricity generated here from renewable energy sources by 2020. The Irish Wind Energy Association's conference in Galway today will hear that up to €4.7 billion will be invested in the sector here over the next seven years by 119 different developers.

Kenneth Matthews, chief executive of the IWEA, says that wind energy is the way forward for the Irish energy market because of its significant pipeline of investment. This investment will create jobs in both urban and rural areas with €900m of the €4.7 billion already earmarked for labour costs. He says some of this investment is frontloaded and will be spent when the economy needs it the most. It will be particular benefit to the construction sector, he adds.

Mr Matthews also points out that wind turbines repay all the carbon required to build them in their first six months of operation. He says that Ireland has enough wind energy to supply 1.3 million homes at the moment, and adds that it is lowering the cost of wholesale electricity prices. Wind energy's advantages include clean energy, jobs, investment and increased security of supply.


MORNING BRIEFS - The heads of the largest American financial institutions have warned of "adverse" consequences if US government agencies remain closed and if lawmakers failed to raise the US debt ceiling by mid-October. They met US President Obama yesterday and are also in Washington to meet senior people from both Democrat and Republican parties.

*** After figures earlier this week showed a fourth consecutive month of growth in the manufacturing sector, this morning we learn that activity in the services sector expanded for the 14th month in a row. The latest purchasing managers' index from Investec, which is compiled each month based on the responses of a group of 600 companies, shows continued growth in export orders. It also shows employment in the sector, which covers businesses ranging from transport and tourism to financial services, increased for the 13th month in a row.

*** Ryanair has said it will appeal a decision of a French court which ordered it to pay €8m in back taxes, fines and compensation for breaching labour laws in Marseille. The airline had staff based in the city but employed on Irish contracts. French social insurance charges for employers are about four times higher than in Ireland. The French court decided Ryanair should have been paying social insurance contributions and other taxes on labour in France and at French rates rather than in Ireland.

*** Investment from US firms in Ireland rose by 1% last year to $22.8 billion according to a report by the American Chamber of Commerce here ahead of a conference on the Irish-US economic relationship in Dublin this morning. That ranks Ireland as the fourth largest destination for investment from American companies. The 1% rise also contrasts with an overall drop of 17.5% in US investment across the EU last year.