Tuesday 17 October 2017

Central Bank to 'fast-track' bids by firms seeking move to Ireland

Officials in Dame Street will be asked to 'reprioritise' applications by firms looking to move to Ireland ahead of the UK’s departure from the EU single market. Stock Image
Officials in Dame Street will be asked to 'reprioritise' applications by firms looking to move to Ireland ahead of the UK’s departure from the EU single market. Stock Image
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

The Central Bank will 'reprioritise' resources for firms looking to move their operations to Ireland under new Government plans to deal with a hard Brexit.

Officials in Dame Street will be asked to "reprioritise" staff to deal with any increase in applications by companies due to the UK's departure from the EU single market.

The Junior Finance Minister Eoghan Murphy. Photo: Tom Burke
The Junior Finance Minister Eoghan Murphy. Photo: Tom Burke

The move, revealed in a new Government plan on the financial services industry, comes amid claims Ireland is not yet prepared for when Britain triggers Article 50.

But the document vows to make Ireland more attractive and to ensure agencies step up their bid to lure banks and other institutions to our shores.

There will be a further push to ensure Ireland is chosen as the new location for the European Banking Authority (EBA), which is currently based in London.

The government's strategy for attracting financial service firms says both the Central Bank and IDA Ireland have reported increased interest in firms assessing Ireland as a location for investment.

It adds that the Central Bank will "reprioritise where necessary to meet any increased level of demand..." while remaining "committed to providing a high quality, fair and transparent authorisation process for all applicants".

"Since the UK's EU referendum result, there has been an enhanced focus on international financial services across Government departments and agencies," says the report.

"There will be some opportunities with Brexit - the Government is keen to maximise those where possible."

Almost 4.5 million square feet of commercial space is under construction or refurbishment, and a further five million square feet of accommodation with full planning permission is available in the Greater Dublin area, the report says.

The Central Bank has confirmed an increased interest in firms assessing Ireland as a location for financial services authorisation and investment.

The bank is said to be ready and resourced to meet the level of demand from potential authorisation applicants "despite the significant increase in enquiries".

School

Another major component of the plan involves expanding the so-called "international school" system. This is aimed at attracting highly skilled foreign professionals who have children of schooling age.

A raft of new degrees in areas such as aviation, finance and technology will also be rolled out to dovetail with sectors that may be attracted here post-Brexit.

The publication of the strategy, outlining how the Government will seek to capitalise on any flight of big business from London, comes just days after a major speech by British Prime Minister Theresa May, who signalled plans for a 'hard Brexit'.

Junior Finance Minister Eoghan Murphy last night said Ms May's approach to Brexit meant it was "increasingly likely that companies accessing the single market for financial services from the UK will need a new EU base".

"Ireland is the obvious location for choice for relocation and the Government stands ready to help in any way it can," Mr Murphy added.

The Dublin Bay South TD said the Government had taken a subtle approach, but "I think we must now be more assertive - it's time to enter a new phase of operations".

According to the plan, Ireland is in a "very strong position to maximise opportunities arising from Brexit" due to the country's strong track record in relation to foreign direct investment.

The strategy includes an event in Dublin before the end of June where senior executives from companies in the financial sector with offices around Ireland will address potential investors.

The plan says focus on the regions is "critical" to growing employment in the International Financial Services (IFS) sector.

Another key element is the Government's bid to secure the post-Brexit location for the EBA.

Department of Finance officials view the securing of such a prestigious organisation as having the potential to result in a "clustering effect" and influencing other financial institutions to move here.

The plan also includes the continued promotion of Ireland's financial sector by the IDA, Enterprise Ireland and ministers during overseas trade missions.

Irish Independent

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