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Worst case Brexit could see thousands of jobs lost – Ulster Bank economist


Simon Barry, Chief Economist Republic of Ireland, Ulster Bank

Simon Barry, Chief Economist Republic of Ireland, Ulster Bank

Simon Barry, Chief Economist Republic of Ireland, Ulster Bank

A worst case Brexit scenario could see thousands of jobs lost in Ireland, according to Simon Barry, chief economist at Ulster Bank Ireland.

At a Brexit seminar hosted by the British Irish Chamber of Commerce at Ulster Bank in Dublin, Mr Barry said IDA Ireland figures showed that more than 55 firms, promising to create as many as 4,500 jobs, had invested in Ireland.

However, he warned that unemployment could run into thousands in a worst case Brexit.

In order to mitigate against Brexit, Ireland needs to fully understand our exposure to the UK, and pursue other markets for growth, he added.

"Being able to spread the risk offers firms mitigation; but this is difficult for companies to achieve, and it can't be done overnight."

With 64 days to go before Brexit, Mr Barry told delegates that the UK economy was starting to see Brexit impact confidence levels.

"The further the UK ends up away from the current status quo, the bigger the damage facing the Irish economy," Mr Barry said.

He added that the Irish economy was facing an economic loss of between 2pc-7pc, however Mr Barry said in a really adverse scenario the impact "could be much worse."

Meanwhile Michael Hodson, director of asset management and investment banking at the Central Bank, said the regulatory would not reduce its standards when examining applications from companies that wish to set up in Ireland before the UK leaves the EU on March 29.

Mr Hodson said the Central Bank remains committed to its regulatory gate keeper role, and while it continues to engage with companies that are looking at establishing in Ireland, "at this late stage we have to concentrate on firms that heeded our advice and engaged with us in a timely manner," he added.

"We have no appetite for firms who have not done the work, or for firms that have no real intention in setting up a substantial business in Ireland, but rather just see their authorisation as a last resort for a hard Brexit".

The event was opened by Minister for Financial Services and Insurance Michael D’Arcy TD, who told delegates that a no deal outcome to Brexit would be "the worst possible outcome" for Ireland, the UK, and the EU, describing Brexit as "a huge challenge".

"Brexit is the overarching challenge for Ireland right now," Minister D’Arcy said.

Noting the country’s close trading and geographical proximity to the UK, Minister D’Arcy said he looking forward to Ireland "trading with the UK with a new structure."

"The Government has been consistent that there will be closest possibly relationship between Ireland and UK," he said.

He also noted that the challenge of Brexit was bringing opportunities for Ireland in the form of companies looking to establish here, including Barclays Bank, JP Morgan, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

He added that the Government would "continue to leverage its strategy to maximise opportunities to attract financial services."

Online Editors