Brexit: Three Opportunities for Irish Businesses

Brexit, Irish businesses, Events on Brexit | Wed 04/07/2018 | Author – Brigitte de Sousa

Brexit: opportunities for Irish businesses

Opportunities Brexit presents for Irish businesses

On 29 March 2019, the UK will cease to be a member of the European Union. There have already been some negative impacts on Irish businesses following the Brexit referendum, especially with the fall in the value of sterling. However, there are some positive opportunities to be considered and we’ll focus on three of these possibilities.

    1. Ireland is an attractive English-speaking European country to invest in.

Ireland will be able to secure a greater share of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) as it will be the only native English-speaking country in the EU. The country is regarded as a "pro-enterprise and pragmatic" voice in European policy-making by corporate leaders. Ireland is one of the most attractive locations for foreign investment on a global scale, due to its tax regime. According to IDA Ireland, FDI companies in Ireland created almost 20,000 jobs in 2017, especially in sectors like life sciences, content and business services, technology and international financial services. In addition, the Irish economy is the fastest growing in the Eurozone and the 6th most competitive in the world.

     2. Ireland as an EU bridge post-Brexit.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar visited the US in March 2018 and proposed the idea, to President Donald Trump, of Ireland becoming America's "Bridge to Europe" when Britain eventually leaves the EU. He said "at a time when Europe and America are drifting apart due to differences on issues like trade, tax and climate change, I believe Ireland can act as a bridge between Europe and America, interpreting one to the other.” Ireland plans to enhance diplomatic missions in the US as part of the launch of Global Ireland, which began last June: a very ambitious plan aiming to double the country’s global footprint by 2025. Ambassador of Ireland to the US, Daniel Mulhall, explained that Ireland will be seen as a natural destination for US investors looking for a European base because of the very special US-Irish relations and because it is a great destination for investment. According to him, there are already 700 US firms with investments in Ireland. Australian firms also see Ireland as an EU bridge post-Brexit. Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said "I think Australian companies will be very interested in working and investing in Ireland as a bridge into the EU”.

     3. Dublin as an alternative financial hub.

Dublin will be seen as an alternative stable financial hub to London. Financial services headquarter operations may be moved from the UK to Dublin, which provides a similar economic and cultural landscape. Recently, trends have shown an increase in job offers in the financial services in Ireland, with institutions like Bank of America moving at least 125 jobs to the country after BrexitIreland has become a globally-recognised centre for international financial services, with 250 companies employing nearly 25,000 people across the sector. Irish companies, from startups to multinational companies, have achieved significant impact in international markets, exporting to 100 countries.

Traditionally Irish businesses have exported to the UK market due to its proximity. However, post-Brexit, trade with the UK will become more challenging and more costly for Irish businesses. Therefore, Brexit presents an opportunity for Irish businesses to look beyond the UK to the European market.

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You might also be interested in the Brexit series by Business & Finance.