The American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland is calling on the Government to double investment in Research, Development and Innovation to 3% of GDP by 2025. 

Mark Redmond, chief executive of the Chamber, said the country currently invests about 1.6% of GDP in research and development, but in order to keep ahead of the competition, we need to ramp up spending in the area. "We spoke to 60 of our member companies about our current state of play and they told us that we have to innovate or get left behind. Ireland needs to become world famous as a centre of excellence in research if we're to maintain our jobs and attract more."

Mark Redmond stressed that Ireland is coming from a very strong position. "We need to put this in context. US foreign direct investment in Ireland is at an all time high and exceeds US investment in all of the BRICs countries combined. 130,000 people here are directly employed here by US companies and a further 100,000 are indirectly supported in their jobs," he said. "We are seeing the most intense competition yet in terms of attracting jobs to Ireland. We're competing with clusters of innovation from all over the world - the East, the Far East, the US and the UK. We're calling for Government to bring everybody on board to make Ireland famous for clusters of innovation," he stated.

Mr Redmond said there were a number of tangible achievements that we could measure in order to determine our progress up to 2025. "How many more research activities do we attract, how well do we perform in attracting world class researchers to move here. Jobs will be a key indicator and if we see clusters of innovation between small business and the research community," he explained. Tax was an important element in attracting innovation, he said, not just at a corporate level, but also on the personal taxation front. He dismissed suggestions that a tax or a levy on the companies that benefit from innovation could help pay for the strategy. "If you want to encourage an activity, the last thing you want to do is to increase taxes on it. If you want to create jobs, it's important that you don't impose more taxes on job creators or those in jobs," he concluded.

***
MORNING BRIEFS - Gary McGann has been announced as the new Chairman of Paddy Power. He joined the board last year as non-executive director and recently announced that he was retiring as CEO of the Smurfit Kappa group. Paddy Power made the announcement in its interim management statement this morning in which it reported a good start to the year with with strong top line growth, particularly in the Australian market, despite unfavourable sports results.

*** Property investment company Hibernia REIT is proposing a total dividend of 0.8 cent per share. In its results for the year to the end of March, the group reported profits of €3.9m compared to a loss of €0.8m the previous year. The group invested €445m and €43m committed in Dublin property in the period, in 14 transactions. Since the end of March, a further €3m has been invested in two transactions. 

*** Permanent TSB received a positive ratings review from Standard & Poor's. The ratings agency has removed PTSB's rating from CreditWatch - where it had been placed by S&P with negative implications at the end of October last year. The agency said the outlook for the bank is positive. The bank also got upgrades from Moody's and DBRS during the week, following its €525m capital raise in the last few weeks.

*** A tax refund scheme aimed at encouraging people to start up a business is being launched today by the Ministers for Enterprise and Finance. The scheme allows entrepreneurs to obtain a refund from the Government of up to 41% of the capital they invest in starting up a business. The scheme operates as a refund of income tax paid by the person starting the business in the six years prior to the business being set up, subject to an overall limit of 41% of the total investment.

*** The dollar sank to three month lows overnight after poor retail data from the US, which turned out to be a huge disappointment to traders who were hoping for a rebounding US economy by now after a very poor first quarter. In the first three months of the year the euro zone economy outperformed those of the US and the UK. Figures yesterday showed the euro zone economy expanded in the period by 0.4% - compared to 0.2% in the US and 0.3% in the UK. 

*** The Bank of England also cut its growth outlook for the UK for this year to 2.5% growth from 2.9% previously.