Sunday 22 September 2019

Donohoe: Brexit not stalling major investment by firms

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe. Photo: Mark Condren
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe. Photo: Mark Condren
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has said uncertainty surrounding Brexit is not delaying major investment decisions by the private sector.

In its latest Quarterly Economic Outlook on Monday, employers' group Ibec warned that the decline in sterling and falling confidence in some sectors is impacting on investment.

However, Mr Donohoe said the ongoing lack of clarity has not led to a pause on investment.

"My genuine assessment is that there are few big economic decisions that are being affected by Brexit," he said. But, he said that in some cases decisions that otherwise might be taken are on hold until when clarity around Brexit emerges.

He was speaking at an event to mark Grant Thornton's announcement of a plan to hire 400 new people over next two years in Ireland.

At the same event, Grant Thornton managing partner Michael McAteer said the impact of Brexit is different across sectors of the economy. US foreign direct investment (FDI) into Ireland is largely targeted at the European Union and is not affected by Brexit, other than making Ireland more attractive, he said.

The financial services sector was seeing some positive effects in Ireland as a result of fears in the UK about Brexit, but for Irish domestic firms the picture was far less positive.

"In relation to indigenous Irish businesses particularly, the uncertainty has led them to not make decisions until they know what decisions to make," Mr McAteer said.

"The unknowns have put a pause on that," he said.

Meanwhile, Grant Thornton said half of the new roles it is looking to recruit will be for graduates, while one-in-four will be outside Dublin.

The accountancy and financial services firm has seven offices in Ireland.

Mr Donohoe said the investment by Grant Thornton was a "vote of confidence" in the economy.

He also encouraged staff at the firm to spend part of their career working for the State, including in his own department and praised the culture at Grant Thornton.

Moving between the public and private sectors was more common in the UK, including at the Treasury - the country's finance department, he noted.

Irish Independent

Also in Business