PEMAC Brexit Breakfast Event

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Ireland are on the side of the EU27, not Britain, according to Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe.

“We now have a very strong interest in making sure that the European Union is not defined by the exit of any one country, no matter how valuable that country is.”

The PEMAC Brexit Breakfast brought together a culmination of CEO’s, MD’s and Business Leaders from the top organisations operating in the Republic & Northern Ireland. This in-depth panel discussion featured: Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe, former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern; former Fine Gael TD Lucinda Creighton; Ibec’s Danny McCoy; the IDA’s Martin Shanahan alongside journalist Alison O’Connor.

Topics discussed on the day included:

  • Key challenges for Irish businesses managing the impact of Brexit
  • What we need to do to prepare for a soft & hard border
  • Irish Governments position and strategy
  • Support for Irish Companies
  • Future investment in Ireland

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern stated:Negotiations for a Hard or Soft Brexit

“The DUP have said they want an open Border and want a soft Brexit,” he said. Ms May no longer had a mandate or majority for a hard Brexit, she has to understand the numbers game at play and would “clearly see she has to make a significant move”.

Mr Ahern clearly appears to believe a soft Brexit is on the cards and the likely outcome of the talks under way between the DUP, the British Conservatives & Theresa May.

Corporate Tax

Former Minister for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton said discussions about Ireland’s corporate tax rate were now “back on the agenda, undoubtedly”, and had been referenced by other European leaders in recent times.

Ms Creighton also discussed some issues we may have when trying to move forward, particularly delays coming from the British side due to political unrest, stating:  “There is anxiety now about the timeline. There are concerns that the British position is not clear which will delay things.”

“There is anxiety now about the timeline. There are concerns that the British position is not clear which will delay things.”

Future Investment in Ireland

IDA chief executive Martin Shanahan said businesses in Britain were doing everything they could to make sure they had access to the European market. There has been unprecedented interest in Ireland since the Brexit referendum last July. “I can tell you categorically there will be investment into this country.”

While that may sound great for Ireland, Mr Shanahan also reminds us to be realistic with our expectations; “We shouldn’t confuse announcements with actual investment”.

In terms of being set up to take advantage of opportunities presented to us, Mr Shanahan stated that “Office space is not an issue” however he reminded us that residential housing is at pinch point and the issue here needs to be addressed.

While everything remains unclear, water ahead is undoubtedly murky and the skies are cloudy – this event went some way to help clear up fears and questions from CEO’s, MD’s and Business Leaders from the top organisations in Ireland. The future for Ireland is bright

The future for Ireland is bright, as stated by Managing Director of PEMAC, Noel O’Regan. We must continue to move forward, progress and “punch far above our weight as a country”.