Banks and financial institutions make up the overwhelming majority of more than 100 companies inquiring about relocating to Ireland after Brexit, the head of the agency tasked with bringing foreign investment into the republic has confirmed.
Martin Shanahan, the chief executive of the Industrial Development Agency (IDA), said many of the corporations looking to move were based in the City of London. While Ireland would try to make capital out of the UK voting to leave the EU, Brexit was not the outcome he or anyone else in Ireland favoured, Shanahan added.
He also said the IDA did not fear a Trump presidency would shut down American multinational investment into Ireland.
The IDA has a target to create an extra 80,000 jobs in the country by 2019, many of them from new US firms setting up their European base in Ireland.
Shanahan told the Guardian that Ireland’s low 12.5% corporation tax remained sacrosanct as one of the Irish Republic’s key fiscal policies.
Ireland will be the only English speaking country left in the EU after Brexit, giving Shanahan and his IDA colleagues extra impetus in their attempts to woo companies, some of which are based in the UK.
“We have seen a huge increase in the amount of inquiries and activities across the globe. It’s not just our office in London, or our office in Dublin; we are receiving inquiries in Asia, in the US, in New York in particular. The figure that we have used to date is over 100 related inquiries,” he said. “For the financial services sector it is a fact that they need to have access to the European market and they need a jurisdiction in which they can do that. Ireland is extremely attractive because we are English speaking, have a common law system, and there is the close proximity to the UK.”
On the threat of Trump imposing protectionist barriers to US companies locating abroad, the IDA chief executive said: “US companies, in my view, will continue to want to … go abroad, seek new markets, seek the talent that exists abroad and have access to the innovation and research that exists outside the US. I don’t see any kind of scenario where that isn’t the case.”
In fact, the instability and uncertainty of global politics, from Brexit to Trump’s election win, might actually benefit Ireland. “In the context of a very turbulent world Ireland looks very stable economically because of the strong growth in 2014, 2015, and it looks the same in 2016. And we look very stable from an enterprise and policy perspective as well.”