Hard Brexit: Government ‘very aware’ of Irish opportunity

State to ‘vigorously pursue’ businesses to move to Ireland in wake of May’s speech

The IFSC in Dublin. Ireland will ‘vigorously pursue’ businesses and EU agencies to move to Dublin in the wake of Theresa May’s hard Brexit vow. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The IFSC in Dublin. Ireland will ‘vigorously pursue’ businesses and EU agencies to move to Dublin in the wake of Theresa May’s hard Brexit vow. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

Ireland will “vigorously pursue” businesses and EU agencies to move to Dublin in the wake of Theresa May’s hard Brexit vow.

The Government welcomed the prime minister’s speech which, it said, gave greater clarity to what the UK is seeking.

“The Government notes that the British approach is now firmly that of a country which will have left the EU but which seeks to negotiate a new, close relationship with it,” a Government spokesman said.

“While this will inevitably be seen by many as a ‘hard exit’, the analysis across Government has covered all possible models for the future UK relationship with the EU.”

The Irish Government said it is “very aware of the potential economic opportunities that may arise for Ireland” from Mrs May’s planned hard Brexit.

This included shifting investment, business and job creation as well as luring EU agencies currently located in London — including the European Medicines Board and the European Banking Authority.

Minister of State for Financial Services Eoghan Murphy already predicted a wave of UK-based financial services companies will announce full or partial relocations to the Irish capital over the coming months.

Ireland’s priorities, as one of the 27 EU countries in the Brexit negotiations, remain its economic and trading arrangements, the peace process and border issues as well as the common travel area.

“In her speech, prime minister May highlighted the specific and historic relationship between Britain and Ireland,” the spokesman said.

“In this context, she made clear that her priorities include maintaining the common travel area and avoiding a return to a hard Border with Northern Ireland, both of which are welcome.

“The alignment between our concerns regarding the economy and trade and the UK objective of the UK to have a close, and friction-free, economic and trading relationship with the EU, including with Ireland is also very important.”

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is to meet Mrs May in Dublin later this month.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, Fianna Fáil’s finance spokesperson Michael McGrath says any form of trade tariff between the UK and the EU will of great concern as it could cost Irish jobs.

He also called on State agencies to agree a very aggressive expansion of international market opportunities to reduce Irish trade’s dependency on the UK.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, Mr McGrath said the Ms May’s clarification on Brexit was welcome as it ended the uncertainty.

“We’re clearer now on the UK position. This is just their opening gambit. It crystallised what we already knew,” he said.

“There is a very difficult round of negotiations ahead for a new trade deal.”

Additional reporting: PA