Many companies planning to move from the UK in the aftermath of Brexit will be making decisions on new locations within weeks, according to IDA chief executive Martin Shanahan.

Speaking in Limerick yesterday, Mr Shanahan said having completed all the advance preparations, companies are now fixing their sights on non-UK site options. He told a business breakfast at the city’s Savoy Hotel that “my expectation is that in the next number of weeks we will see companies making decisions about where they are going to locate in a post-Brexit world.”

He said these companies are going to move ahead because they have to.

“They have to give their shareholders clarity about what the plan is, and give their clients clarity and certainty. We will see more investment into Ireland as a result, and my expectation is that all regions will ultimately benefit because of that.”

Mr Shanahan said the other big issue Ireland faced is the new US administration and what that might mean from a foreign direct investment perspective.

He said: “It is probably too early to say, and we are only a few months into the new presidency. There is an expectation that there may be tax reforms in the US, and an expectation that there might be something done around the repatriation of profits, that there might be a stimulus programme, that there may be adjustments to the regulatory landscapes in the US.”

He said such moves have been very well received by US multinationals.

“Those I have met at a senior leadership level in US multinationals over the past few months have been extremely positive and optimistic about what it might mean for US business. They are extremely bullish on the US economy, and the markets reflect that. We have seen a significant rise in the US markets.

“Those things don’t concern us hugely. I don’t believe they will detract from our competitiveness,” he said. “US multinationals need to continue to access the European market and there’s no one country — or continent — that has a monopoly on those things. What we need to do is focus on the things that are in our control so that when those companies internationalise and when they are looking for a home, it is Ireland first.”

Meanwhile, IDA statistics show Limerick is the fastest-growing region for foreign direct investment outside Dublin.

Limerick Chamber CEO James Ring said: “In addition to the 9,000 jobs and €1.3bn in investment over the past three years, unemployment is at 7%, which is lower than the national average.”

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