Tuesday 16 July 2019

Brexit to hit exports and jobs, bosses fear

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

More than 85pc of Irish business leaders surveyed about Brexit think the UK's departure from the EU will result in decreased exports from Ireland.

The survey, by the Irish office of international corporate financial advisor Duff & Phelps, also found that 32pc of respondents believe Brexit could lead to a rise in unemployment here.

The majority - 55pc - also see Frankfurt as the key competitor to Dublin in luring business moving from the UK because of Brexit. The three sectors most likely to be adversely impacted are tourism, agriculture and manufacturing, according to the business community.

But they also believe that there will be an upside as financial-services firms and multinationals weigh up their post-Brexit options.

Of those surveyed, 91pc believe that financial-services companies will relocate to Ireland due to EU passporting rights that the UK seems set to lose. And 72pc believe that multinationals are likely to move operations here.

That could have implications for securing staff in an under-pressure employment market for some sectors, as well as impacting wage inflation.

However, some 55pc of respondents said they believe an influx of companies to Ireland will boost the talent pool in Ireland, with potentially higher local availability of specialised workers.

"These results mirror what we are hearing on the ground and from our clients in Ireland, UK and further afield," said Killian Buckley, managing director and head of Duff & Phelps' regulatory and compliance consulting services in Ireland.

"While there is significant uncertainty and worry among the business community, there is also a pragmatism to make the best of it and a real determination to exploit any opportunities Brexit may bring for Ireland."

While 55pc believe Frankfurt is the main competitor for luring firms, Luxembourg is seen by 33pc as the main rival to Dublin, with Paris ranked top competitor by just 7pc of respondents.

Ireland has seen some UK-based financial firms plump for Luxembourg, Frankfurt and Brussels for post-Brexit moves. But the IDA says it has secured deals with more than a dozen London-based financial houses and banks to move some operations to Ireland.

Some 61pc of respondents also believe that the dysfunctional Irish residential property market is one of the most likely factors that might dissuade companies from relocating to Ireland. Commercial property prices were cited by 28pc of respondents and staff availability by 38pc.

Irish Independent

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