Wednesday 22 August 2018

Brexit 'silver lining' to bring 2,500 jobs here over five years, says IDA

Martin Shanahan, IDA chief executive
Martin Shanahan, IDA chief executive
John Downing

John Downing

A Brexit "silver lining" will deliver 2,500 new jobs for Ireland over the next three to five years, IDA boss Martin Shanahan has claimed.

Mr Shanahan said the IDA very much regrets Brexit, but has been working on trying to get what advantages it can out of it since the shock vote on June 23, 2016. Many of the new jobs will be in pharmaceuticals and financial services.

In a letter to Dublin Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes, the IDA chief noted it had been working with many firms on the issue since soon after the referendum result 21 months ago.

But many firms which initially adopted a 'wait and see' approach have now begun preparing for a 'hard Brexit' and find Ireland is a useful answer to the problems of access to EU markets.

Mr Shanahan also strikes an optimistic note on the majority of firms the IDA has already encouraged to base an operation in Ireland. He said that the majority of these are not very engaged in the UK market and so do not expect to be hit by the Brexit fallout.

Some 30pc of firms with which the IDA deals have potential difficulties relating and are working to address these as well as possible.

"The vast majority of our clients' operations in Ireland report little or no direct exposure to the UK and do not see Brexit as a high risk," Mr Shanahan said.

He said that in 16 months since Brexit happened, the IDA had approved 18 investment projects which had a Brexit dimension. "These projects have the potential to deliver circa 2,500 jobs over the next three to five years," he said.

The IDA boss said that, separate from this, Brexit had been a contributing factor in winning investment for Ireland in areas like financial services, life sciences and technology.

Significantly, the majority of these newcomers were first-time investors engaging with the IDA. The altered status of the UK in the EU had been seen as changing things.

"They can no longer rely on it to provide guaranteed, preferential access to the wider EU market, which is a major factor in location decision-making by internationalising firms," Mr Shanahan said.

He added that separate to these investments, a number of investors already operating in Ireland had signalled their intention to expand their operations. Some of these had announced their intentions, including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays and TD Securities.

Other firms had kept their expansion plans secret for the moment. But Mr Shanahan expected a range of announcements as the year advanced.

"This work is generating a strong Brexit-related investment pipeline for 2018," he said.

Irish Independent

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