Sunday 4 December 2016

Attempt to 'poach' 1,000 bank and medicine jobs from the UK

Published 20/10/2016 | 02:30

Ireland will enter the battle for more than 1,000 medical and financial jobs that will have to relocate from London as a result of Brexit. Stock Image: PA
Ireland will enter the battle for more than 1,000 medical and financial jobs that will have to relocate from London as a result of Brexit. Stock Image: PA

Ireland will enter the battle for more than 1,000 medical and financial jobs that will have to relocate from London as a result of Brexit.

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The Irish Independent has learned the Cabinet will next week give Health Minister Simon Harris and Finance Minister Michael Noonan approval to embark on a "political and diplomatic offensive".

It marks a significant change in tack from the Government which has to date been careful not to be seen to be actively 'stealing jobs' from the UK on the back of Brexit.

The ministers will formally campaign for Dublin to become the new headquarters of the

European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Banking Authority (EBA).

Both are currently based in London, but a decision on where they will relocate is expected to be taken shortly after Britain triggers Article 50 next year.

The EMA, which has almost 900 employees, is the largest EU body in Britain. It is charged with fostering "scientific excellence" in the supervision of medicines, while the EBA works to ensure prudent regulation and supervision across the European banking sector.

Both bodies are seen as among the most prestigious EU authorities, with the EBA employing 159 staff from 25 different countries.

Sweden, Denmark, Italy and Germany have already declared an interest in becoming home to the EMA, while Paris and Frankfurt are seen as frontrunners for the EBA.

The Irish Government is set to argue that as Britain's closest neighbour and the only English-speaking country remaining in the EU, Ireland is best placed to facilitate a "smooth transition".

"Their best chance of having no disruption to service would be a move to Dublin," a government source said.

"Dublin has a city airport so workers with families could commute from London. We have the office space and the workforce."

Ireland is also home to nine out of 10 of the world's top pharmaceutical companies.

Read more: Brexit 'could spark race to bottom for workers' rights'

The European Commission will set the criteria for the choice of new location with Member States to make the final decision.

An inter-agency working group involving a number of government departments and bodies like the IDA have been secretly working on the plan for several weeks. Fine Gael ministers are also expected to lobby their colleagues in the European People's Party (EPP).

Meanwhile, Martin McGuinness has said he doesn't trust Northern Ireland's Secretary of State to deliver a good deal from Brexit.

The Deputy First Minister made his remarks at a summit which brought business and political leaders to Derry, including former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

Mr McGuinness said the British government does not have the interests of the North at heart.

"Despite what James Brokenshire may say, he will not be my representative at those negotiations. That is the responsibility of elected representatives here," he said.

Mr Ahern said an open border and common trading area between Ireland and Britain must be maintained.

"People must be able to move freely between Britain and Ireland without restriction and in an unencumbered manner," he said.

Irish Independent

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