In today’s Seanad debate (Thursday) on delivering sustainable full employment, Fine Gael Senator, Neale Richmond, has called on all relevant stakeholders to shout it out, loud and clear – Ireland is open for business.
“The result of the UK EU Referendum is extremely important in the context of delivering sustainable full employment here in Ireland; it presents huge challenges but also a few opportunities.
“Ireland’s place in Europe and the wider world is vital to delivering sustainable full employment here and that place has drastically changed in just a week. Since 1999 Ireland has been the only English speaking country in the Eurozone and by 2018 it is likely that we will be the only English speaking left in the EU, pending events in Scotland of course.
“Already we have heard rumours that both Morgan Stanley and HSBC are looking to move up to 3,000 employees from their offices in London to alternative European cities. According to a report in May, Brexit could push about €6 billion of investment into Ireland’s financial services sector. One bank that has already moved some operations to Ireland is Switzerland’s Credit Suisse, which said in December that it would make Dublin its primary hub for servicing hedge funds in Europe and move staff from London.
“Ireland has an excellent reputation in the Financial Services and Fintech sectors and I have asked the Minister for Jobs, and the agencies under her remit, to set up a special unit solely charged with trying to lure businesses that are looking to move from London here to Ireland. Dublin offers the English language, a similar legal system and it is already home to back-office and servicing divisions for many international banks.
“Central to attracting more companies to Ireland, and to encouraging existing companies to expand their operations here, is our corporate tax rate. When the UK does eventually leave the EU, we will be losing a great ally in the fight against efforts from the European Commission and certain other EU Member States like France to bully Ireland into increasing this rate or to join in a harmonised European Corporate Tax Rate. Let no one forget that Ireland has a veto in this area and that there will be no move to alter the rate under this Fine Gael led Government.
“A report from Bloomberg earlier this week compared Dublin with Paris, Frankfurt, Luxembourg, Amsterdam and even Edinburgh as possible destinations for financial institutions now looking to relocate from London in a post Brexit world. A glowing recommendation brought just two negative concerns to light: a relative lack of office space and high personal tax rates.
“Our top line personal tax rate of 52% is much higher than the 45% in London or Paris as well as the 42% in Frankfurt. When seeking to attract jobs to Ireland, we need to show that it will be worthwhile for both employees and employers.
“Bearing in mind the events of the past week in the UK, I encourage everyone, please don’t leave it solely to the Minister or the IDA or Enterprise Ireland; let us all shout it out, loud and clear – Ireland is open for business.”