'Green IFSC' initiative to get go-ahead before March
Published 03/01/2011 | 05:00
The long-anticipated creation of a so-called "Green IFSC" is now believed to be scheduled for March, most likely amid the fanfare of an election campaign.
The initiative is meant to be a cornerstone of the Government's job-creation strategy, but an earlier deadline for the initiative announced in September passed without any government statement.
Some IFSC figures are worried the initiative may be scrapped entirely if a new Fine Gael/Labour coalition takes power, but it now appears likely it could be signed off before any new administration gets into power.
The proposal is understood to be with the Department of the Taoiseach awaiting final sign-off with an announcement pencilled in for early March.
Minutes of the meetings of the highly influential Clearing House Group, made up of IFSC interest groups, show that the project has received significant attention over recent months from a working group consisting of senior civil servants.
But no announcement came in September, despite the project having the blessing of the Clearing House Group.
The Green IFSC idea is also drawing support from the local authorities in Dublin, who hope their own initiatives will be boosted by such a initiative.
However, time is running out for a Green IFSC, as several other countries are promoting the idea of a cluster of green businesses setting up in their main cities, too. Ireland's low rate of corporation tax does provide us with an advantage.
The idea was first discussed in February 2009, but it now looks like the final sign-off on the idea is approaching.
The plan is to attract green businesses, companies that finance them and firms involved in carbon-reduction technology, possibly using tax incentives and other attractions unique to Ireland and the IFSC.
One of those pushing the idea on, the Clearing House Group, which liaises between the IFSC and Government, is recorded in the minutes as saying: "The goal is to become a leading player in the global carbon market and identify Ireland as a centre of excellence in the management of carbon."
The IFSC is embarking on several initiatives to make sure the area remains popular with foreign firms and financial services companies.
John Bruton is the public face of the centre and, in his first address, said financial services still had a major economic contribution to make to Ireland.
He has also sought to play down any tensions between the Financial Regulator, Matthew Elderfield, and the firms based in the centre.
"I believe it is critical that Ireland has a reputation as a thorough, rigorous, and pragmatic regulator of the industry," he said in his first speech.
"Nothing is to be gained by laxity or rigid formalism."