Dublin’s lead in the race to attract financial services firms switching their EU operations from London after Brexit has narrowed, with Luxembourg now running the capital close as the relocation city of choice.
Data from EY shows only one company has picked Dublin as its relocation choice in the last three months, bringing the total since the UK’s June 2016 vote to leave the EU to 29.
In the last quarter of 2018, six financial companies said they were relocating to Dublin.
The first two quarters of this year have seen only one further company each.
The number of companies picking Luxembourg as their future EU home has jumped from 16 to 23 since the end of last year, with the city leap-frogging Frankfurt into second place, behind Dublin, in the list of favoured venues.
Paris, Amsterdam, and Madrid round out the top six cities. The change from March 31 to October 31 as Britain’s deadline to leave the EU has been the lead factor in a general slowdown in relocation activity.
However, the growing prospect of a no-deal Brexit has seen London-based financial services firms restarting their preparation in recent weeks.
According to EY, Dublin remains the number one choice for relocating firms.
“While we have only seen one additional firm announce their intent to relocate to Dublin since our last tracker, we’re seeing that firms who have already made the decision to relocate to the city are ‘getting on with’, if not completing, their relocation and transfer to their new European location,” said EY Ireland’s Cormac Kelly.
“Organisations across the insurance, banking, and asset management sectors have gained their licence and are now actively establishing their new European operating models and resourcing their organisational structures.
"Specifically, firms are spending significant time and effort on understanding and adapting to the new European regulatory regime and building their ‘business as usual’ supervisory relationships with the Central Bank of Ireland and central European regulators.”
Meanwhile, new CSO freight transport figures suggest Brexit is having a negative impact on Irish exports to the UK.
Aidan Flynn, the general manager of Freight Transport Association Ireland, said the industry needs certainty around Britain leaving the bloc.
The CSO said just over 149m tonnes of goods were transported by road in 2018, an increase of 1.4% on the year previously.
However, in the fourth quarter of 2018, a total of 32.8m tonnes of goods was transported by road, a decrease of 7.9% when compared with the same period in 2017.
Activity decreased by 9.6% in the fourth quarter of 2018 when compared with the same quarter in 2017, it said.
Mr Flynn said: “Figures would suggest that Brexit is having a negative impact on the export of goods to the UK.
"Industry sectors such as construction and quarry — that accounts for over 28% of the tonnage moved — are being directly impacted due to weakening sterling and the predisposition in the UK to buy British.
“Overall, the competitiveness of Irish products into the UK market is being curtailed as a result of Brexit.
“Industry needs certainty around Brexit and no-deal will exacerbate the situation further.”
- Additional reporting by Pádraig Hoare