Friday 20 September 2019

American firms offer post-Brexit buffer in 'attractive Ireland'


Mark Gantly believes Brexit may be an opportunity. Photo: Declan Monaghan
Mark Gantly believes Brexit may be an opportunity. Photo: Declan Monaghan

Shawn Pogatchnik

Up to 700 US multinationals can provide a "buffer" to economic shocks after Brexit and may find Ireland more attractive when the UK leaves the European Union, according to the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland.

President of the chamber, Mark Gantly, said that while Brexit posed many threats, there were still opportunities Ireland can grasp.

Speaking at the launch of the lobbying group's Pre-Budget 2020 report, Mr Gantly said: "While there is acute awareness of the Brexit threat, we view FDI [foreign direct investment], and US FDI in particular, as a potential buffer for the Irish economy which needs to be protected and nurtured.

"Notwithstanding all of the Brexit negatives, it is important for Ireland to recognise and act upon the opportunity that Brexit presents for FDI in Ireland," Mr Gantly added.

"We have a unique offering and we must not lose sight of this among all of the Brexit uncertainty.

"Our location, our position as the only native English-speaking country left in the EU, the depth of our talent pool and our long and proven track record as a base for US companies to trade into EMEA [Europe, Middle East and Africa], these are all the strengths which Ireland needs to play to."

The group's report called on the Government to address a raft of quality-of-life weaknesses - including housing, transport, healthcare, education and utilities from water to broadband.

These issues, it said, could make it harder to attract expat talent to Ireland.

It cited a February study identifying Dublin as suffering the third-worst road congestion among 200 cities in 38 countries, with 246 hours on average lost to traffic jams annually.

"Dublin needs certain and reasonable travel and transfer times around the city, its orbital route and the main arteries," it said.

"Resourcing and speedy delivery of the Bus Connects programme and cycle network is a key goal for improving the commuting experience."

Irish Independent

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