Sunday 18 March 2018

IDA chief predicts Ireland will be boosted by investment after UK exit

Martin Shanahan Picture: Maxwells
Martin Shanahan Picture: Maxwells
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

Ireland will win a significant amount of investment as a result of the Brexit vote, the head of the Industrial Development Agency (IDA) has predicted.

Martin Shanahan said IDA's offices around the world have seen a significant increase in activity since the vote on June 23.

He said he didn't feel the need for the agency to "traipse billboards" through London in an attempt to match the tactics of some other European capitals to woo investors.

"My expectation isn't that the City of London will decamp to Dublin, but there will be new mobile investment, predominantly in financial services, and then it will move out into other sectors, [and] we will win a significant amount of it. We will fight for every piece of mobile investment that's available," Mr Shanahan said.

The IDA chief was speaking as part of a panel discussion on Brexit organised by the Women's Executive Network (WXN), along with British ambassador to Ireland Robin Barnett, and Brian O'Reilly, who heads up the Global Investment Strategy team at Davy Stockbrokers.

It is understood that more than 100 Brexit-related investor queries have already been received by the IDA since the vote.

"Undoubtedly companies in financial services and banks are looking at how to ensure access to the European market and their ability to market," Mr Shanahan said.

"Many of them have a presence here in one shape or another and my expectation is that they have gone from the point of doing pre-planning to due diligence, to the point that some are now site visiting and I expect that early in the new year we will see some decisions emanating."

Ireland is facing competition to win investment from other European capitals.

Paris's financial district has launched a billboard advertising campaign in London with the slogan "Tired of the fog? Try the Frogs! Choose Paris La Défense", referring to the Parisian business district.

Mr Shanahan said the IDA has preferred to take a more "low-key" approach, but is in constant contact with companies across the globe.

"We have not felt it necessary to traipse billboards through the streets of the city of London in order to attract foreign direct investment," he said.

"We don't believe that that is probably the way to do it. In fact, I would argue that it might be counterproductive and I think for some of our counterparts across Europe, they might be finding that out now."

Mr Shanahan later told the Irish Independent that he did not believe that a "full-frontal assault on the City of London" was the "right tactical move".

Irish Independent

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