The availability of construction and property jobs has tripled over the last 12 months. According to recruiter Hays, quantity surveyors, project managers, site engineers and property managers are particularly in demand. Hays' comparison with May of this year compared to lost shows that commercial work is providing the bulk of jobs growth. Employment is also growing on the residential side, but at a slower rate.

Mike McDonagh, a director at the property and construction division at Hays, says the construction sector is hiring the best qualified people for the task, no matter what age they are. Mr McDonagh says that recently the firm placed a welder in a new job - the first such placement in a long time - and he was a mature worker with lots of experience. He says the new hiring activity is coming off a very low base in the industry, adding that it is still a long way off the frantic activity in the years before the property crash and things are not getting out of control again. Everyone knows that we need more houses in large urban areas and Mr McDonagh says that the Government has started to work on this problem. He also says that since the downturn, a lot of skills have been lost as construction workers moved away to the likes of the Middle East and Australia to get work. He says these workers now need to be encouraged to return home to work on such specialist projects as the new children's hospital and the Grangegorman campus.

The recruiter also says that the company is seeing good growth in areas including the IT sector, life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Mr McDonagh says that while Ireland is "great" at attracting Foreign Direct Investment to the country, more needs to be done in getting overseas skills here, including making it easier to get visas. 

MORNING BRIEFS -  Ireland based medical products maker Covidien is to be bought by its rival Medtronics in a cash and stock deal worth $42.9 billion, which will see Medtronic move its tax base to Ireland. Medtronic, which is worth $60 billion, will pay Covidien shareholders $93.22 a share - that is a premium of 50% over Friday's closing share price of nearly $61, making it the biggest deal in the healthcare sector so far this year. The deal is subject to approval from the shareholders of both companies, and also needs regulatory approval from the US, the European Union, and China. Omar Ishrak - the chairman and chief executive of Medtronic - says the combined group would hold market-leading positions in neurovascular technologies for treating Parkinson's disease and strokes, and would have annual combined sales of $27 billion. Medtronic will move its tax base away from the US, assuming the lower-tax domicile of Covidien, but the company's chairman played down the tax benefits of the deal to his company, saying the deal was strategic first, and that talks about tax and its financial structure came afterwards. 

*** The price of Brent crude spiked on Friday over concerns about the ongoing insurgency in Iraq. Oil prices settled down, but at $4 per barrel higher than at the beginning of the week. Iraq is the second-largest oil producer in the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) group. According to figures from the International Energy Agency (IEA), Iraq accounts for roughly 4% of global oil production.