Tuesday 17 September 2019

Finance firms give D'Arcy Brexit warning

Minister Michael D’Arcy. Photo: Damien Eagers/INM
Minister Michael D’Arcy. Photo: Damien Eagers/INM
Samantha McCaughren

Samantha McCaughren

Executives from leading financial services firms based in Ireland raised concerns about the potential negative impact of Brexit on existing businesses here at a meeting with Minister of State for Finance, Michael D'Arcy.

This was one of several issues raised, with personal tax, high rents and the "poor" healthcare system also flagged.

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According to a document from German-Irish Chamber of Industry and Commerce, its financial services members were worried about the impact of an exodus of firms to Dublin from the UK.

A key issue was Brexit- related "competition for limited resources, capacity within the industry and distraction at the Central Bank". Ahead of the meeting, D'Arcy was given a detailed briefing note on the actions being taken by the Central Bank in preparation for Brexit.

Members of the chamber's financial services group also called for a fair tax treatment of all, "not just the large social media", companies. There has been considerable attention given in recent years to the State's tax treatment of Apple, and the EU Commission ruled in 2016 that Ireland gave it illegal state aid worth up to €13bn over a decade.

The chamber wrote to members of its financial services group ahead of the round table lunch on May 22 at Arthur Cox's offices in Dublin. According to documents released under the Freedom of Information Act, it sought a brief outline of topics for discussion from members ahead of the meeting. This was in order "to avoid any surprises and achieve a co-ordinated approach".

Attendees were to include executives from HSBC, Allianz, Barclays Bank, AIB and Bank of Ireland.

Ireland's strategy for financial services was also questioned by an executive from an unnamed company employing around 100 people.

"The fact is, Dublin is becoming too expensive for foreign employees; rent and the cost of living are too expensive, wages are eroded by penal taxes, and PRSI/SC and the healthcare system are poor," the executive wrote.

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