Tuesday 12 December 2017

Ireland will position itself as a 'stable country', amidst Brexit chaos

Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photo: Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images
Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photo: Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images
Dearbhail McDonald

Dearbhail McDonald

Ireland will position itself as a stable country with access to Europe's labour market pool as Britain prepares to leave the European Union.

IDA chief executive Martin Shanahan said Ireland's "stability as a country in every sense" will be the key message delivered to target companies the agency is meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The IDA will host a dinner on Thursday for existing and target clients at Davos that will be addressed by Taoiseach Enda Kenny who is separately meeting with a range of international executives from leading insurance, banking, telco and medical companies.

"The message we will be getting across to both is that Ireland continues to be an extremely attractive place to invest," said Mr Shanahan in an interview with the Irish Independent in Davos.

"We will be highlighting the strong run of investment that we have had the last couple of years.We will be highlighting the strong economic performance that Ireland has had in the past three years, the strongest within Europe.

"And we will, in the context of Brexit, be highlighting Ireland's stability as a country in every sense, particularly our stability where it comes to our policy approach to enterprise. We will be highlighting the attractiveness of Ireland in a post Brexit world".

Mr Shanahan said that availability of talent is "a key issue" for overseas investors and that the ability to access the European labour market was one of Ireland's post Brexit.

A global report launched to coincide with the WEF ranked Ireland as 12th in the world for attracting, training and retaining educated, skilled workers.

However the report by HR firm Adecco also warned that while Ireland is a magnet for foreign talent, it lags behind in formal education and in "preventing the brain drain of its own top workers".

"Investors are now clear that the UK will leave the single market," said Mr Shanahan.

"That makes it all the more important that we highlight Ireland's attractiveness and it's continued access to the European market. Continued access not the European labour pool which is hugely important in the context of the UK being outside of the European market.

"The fact that we are English speaking, have a common law system and then all the traditional attributes that we have around availability of talent, competitiveness, a consistent taxation regime. We will be making sure that companies are well aware of that.

Mr Shanahan said that whilst tax "will always come up as a point of discussion" with foreign investors, Ireland's corporate tax regime was not in question.

 "Investors aren't overly concerned about Ireland's continued commitment to tax," he said. "Ireland has proven its commitment to tax over the most difficult years that we've had. "The fact that we are appealing the Apple tax decision demonstrates that we believe that our tax rate is competitive, consistent and transparent".

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