State can generate 10,000 jobs in finance, says Kenny
THE Taoiseach has insisted that it is "credible" for Ireland to create more than 10,000 new international-finance jobs over the next five years -- despite the country's battered reputation.
Enda Kenny's comments came as he revealed a new strategy to attract more companies to the IFSC and encourage those already here to take on more workers.
If another 10,000 jobs can be created over the next five years, it will mark a near-doubling of the 6,000 new positions that were created in the IFSC in the five years to 2011. It already employs about 33,000 people.
Mr Kenny yesterday dismissed suggestions that the target was too ambitious and said Ireland was entirely capable of "rebuilding" the financial reputation it had spent decades creating.
"The target of 10,000 jobs is a credible estimate based on expert assessment," he insisted. "It is well within our achievement in the (next) five years."
The latest effort to reinvigorate the IFSC comes a year after former Taoiseach John Bruton was appointed as chairman of the industry group IFSC Ireland, so that he could act as its ambassador and lure new business here.
The new strategy document includes relatively detailed plans for attracting new business in areas such as fund management, international insurance and reinsurance and payment services.
The document also identifies several major challenges for the industry, including high personal taxes, which it says are making it difficult for IFSC firms to "attract and retain" highly skilled staff.
Hopes of an employment boom at the IFSC came as the banking trade union the IBOA predicted that as many as 10,000 jobs would be shed by domestic banks over the coming years.
AIB will soon unveil plans to cut about 2,000, while the newly merged Anglo Irish Bank/Irish Nationwide could cut as many as 700 by the end of the year.
Further cuts are also feared at foreign-owned banks, including Ulster Bank.
Meanwhile, the Taoiseach is to lead a trade mission to China later this year.
He told a UCD conference on the Chinese economic miracle yesterday that Ireland's trade with China had increased from €715m a decade ago to €4.2bn last year.