Can Ireland Benefit from Brexit?

Many of you are worried, and rightly so, about Ireland’s diminishing relationship with the UK.

Not only does Ireland share cultural ties, family and friends with the UK, but also a delicate yet established and robust economic relationship. Let us not forget that the UK and Ireland joined the EU together back in 1973. We were set to carve our future in Europe together. Even decades later, in 2010, the UK loaned Ireland £7bn to ensure the pace of trading continued. Ireland’s recovery from the financial crisis has been exceptional, growing over 8% GDP in 2015, and much of that is aligned with Ireland’s relationship with their number 1 trading partner – the UK.

And so, with Brexit, the survival of Ireland’s thriving trade with the UK hangs in the balance. Those planning to emigrate to the UK may be reconsidering, while SMEs in Ireland who are dependent on a UK supplier, the UK market or British investment will be looking on with apprehension.

However, Dublin’s Silicon Docks is one of Europe’s tech centres, with Google alone employing over 3,500 staff there. Financial services is much the same - many of the world’s top financial organisations have chosen Dublin as the location for their headquarters. And having spent a lot of time in our Dublin office, the pace of business I have witnessed there is exciting and inspiring, allowing us to build relationships with a number of great clients in the area.  

In fact, even since Brexit, thousands of jobs have been announced in Ireland by organisations that continue to deem Ireland as a great place to do business and for their staff to work. These include:

  • Over 1,000 jobs announced by ESA, supporting 25 start-up companies in space-focused areas in the next four years
  • 500 mainly high-tech jobs created by Amazon in Dublin over the next two years
  • The €1.9m Irish Government initiative launched within the tech industry to attract 3,000 top tech workers to Ireland

This is clearly a brilliant time for companies to invest in Ireland – a growing economy with a booming tech sector and rapidly expanding Financial Services market. So, considering this positive news, could Brexit actually improve Ireland’s luck?

INVESTING IN IRELAND

Ireland will now be the only English speaking country in the EU.

This will be an important factor for companies and people alike when deciding where to work or do business. Not only is English considered to be the language of business and spoken as a second language more than any other in the world, but anyone who is noted to have worked in an English speaking country will be an attractive prospect for future employers. We may even see the rise of “linguistic tourism” in Ireland.

The UK is currently the number 1 destination for immigrant workers in the EU, so the title may be passed to Ireland as many of the attractive prospects – culture, countryside, language, business- are similar (or even better!) to the UK and available just across the Irish sea.

Ireland could also prove to be attractive to many UK workers now, providing visas aren’t a problem. Those who rely on access to the single market for their careers, or who are interested in well-funded educational programmes or joining one of the many established companies that has chosen to grow business in Ireland now have an obvious option.

Starting-up in Ireland is an undeniably appealing choice considering it's home to 4.5m English speaking people with access to the EU single market and the countless benefits that it provides. London may be the venture capital of Europe, but with Dublin taking 8th place we may see the recently non-EU London passing the crown as investors look elsewhere.

In terms of established companies, the story is similar. Dublin may see a boom in inward investment - with its low corporate tax rate of just 12.5% several big-name businesses may announce a move of headquarters and relocations to Ireland, potentially brining millions more into the economy.

OUR FUTURE

Given that there are many people with appropriate skillsets that already work in Ireland, coupled with a potentially rising working immigrations figure, recruiting businesses will have a wide talent pool to choose from. This, alongside the attractiveness of Ireland as a place to do business within the EU, suggests an even brighter future for Ireland.

However, the coming months/years will define Ireland’s future with the UK and Europe alike. If Ireland wishes to remain a pivotal tech/finance start-up friendly country, they must work with the UK to find a way to continue the collaboration, trade and free flow of talent that has made both of our islands stronger.

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