Are small and medium enterprises here at an unfair disadvantage when they tender for public contracts? Chambers Ireland points out that the value of Irish public sector contracts awarded to firms outside the state was 8.8% of the total last year compared to the EU average of 3.5%.

Seán Murphy, Chambers Ireland's deputy chief executive, says there is a need to take a more strategic approach to tendering and that factors such as long term benefits to the economy, job creation and supporting domestic business must be given greater consideration. He says that companies tendering from outside the state are not hampered by such costs as high pay rates, high taxes and local rates as Irish companies, which makes them more competitive. The requirements to just apply for a tender are highly onerous, he adds. 

Mr Murphy also says the Office of Government Procurement should ideally be within the Department of the Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation because good tendering begets innovation, which begets enterprise, which ultimately results in jobs for the economy. The OGP is currently in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

Both London and Dublin lay claim to being among the best cities in the world in which to start a company. Having started up firms in both of those locations, Dylan Collins has just written a piece for the Wall Street Journal comparing the two. Mr Collins says that it really depends where a company is on the start-up process as to which city is best for them. He maintains that Dublin is better for early stage start-ups, where companies need to get things going quickly. It is also easier to get on the radar in Dublin rather than London as the size of the UK city can sometimes work against it. He says that anyone who has started a company in Dublin will know how easy it is to get to people - investors, advisors or potential staff - because 
of how connected the city is. Americans immediately grasp this fact, he adds.

Mr Collins says he started up his current venture - Super Awesome - in London due to logistical reasons as most of its clients and advertising agents are London-based. But he added that he is looking to open a new business in Dublin shortly.

MORNING BRIEFS - The financial services industry spends €120m a year lobbying the EU, outspending all other groups by a factor of 30. A report on lobbying of EU institutions by the Corporate Europe Observatory, the Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour and the Austrian Trade Union Federation puts the number of organisations identified as lobbying on behalf of the financial industry at 700. Of those 140 come from the UK, 65 from the US and 20 from Ireland. The report said that financial institutions spend €120m lobbying on financial policy issues while just €4m a year is spent by non-governmental organisations, trade unions and consumer groups combined.

*** Irish company Tapastreet has announced a collaboration with the UK's met office. Tapastreet is part of Enterprise Ireland's "Ones to Watch" showcase at the Irish embassy in London coinciding with the state visit. It provides real-time photos, videos and other information harvested from a variety of social media outlets for any location in the world. That would include, for example, information on events happening in a particular area such as concerts, sporting events and festivals - all of particular interest to out-of-town visitors. Tapastreet was co-founded in 2012 by former Intel engineer Joe Mitchell and ex Google employee Dave Johnson.