Wednesday 16 January 2019

Kenny to openly court Brexit-hit businesses after tactical rethink

Enda Kenny with Eamon Creamer, owner of a 1916 Ford Model T, in Ballymahon, Co Longford, yesterday. Photo: Mark Condren
Enda Kenny with Eamon Creamer, owner of a 1916 Ford Model T, in Ballymahon, Co Longford, yesterday. Photo: Mark Condren
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Taoiseach Enda Kenny will today break with the Government's long-standing policy of not publicly touting for UK-based companies to relocate to Ireland.

In his first significant speech since British Prime Minister Theresa May outlined her plans to take the UK out of the single market, Mr Kenny will make an explicit pitch for financial institutions.

He will tell a major summit in Dublin that Mrs May's decision to opt for a 'hard Brexit' means Ireland will be the only English-speaking country in the EU with "a stable, predictable and certain business environment".

A Government source said they are determined to protect existing business but must also react to the "major opportunity" presented by Brexit.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan previously said that Ireland would not be "predatory" in seeking foreign direct investment.

However, sources said Mr Kenny's speech to the European Financial Forum in Dublin Castle will up the ante.

"We will have access to the European single market, the UK will not. We are open for business," the source said.

The Taoiseach will tell attendees, including senior representatives from the China Investment Corporation (CIC) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, that Ireland has made a public declaration of interest in becoming the location of the European Banking Authority.

"With its significant financial services sector and efficient transport links to other European capitals, Dublin is the ideal choice for the Authority's relocation," he will say. "And we continue to be a very desirable location for investment. After the UK's exit from the EU, Ireland will be the only English-speaking, common law country in the European Union.

"We will continue to offer a stable, predictable and certain business environment alongside continued access to the European market of over 400 million people.

"I know that many UK-based financial services companies are considering moving some of their operations in light of Brexit," the Taoiseach will say.

Meanwhile, Housing Minister Simon Coveney has said the Government is encouraging companies locating here to consider regional cities and towns as part of the Brexit plan.

Irish Independent

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