Irish CEOs see faults in Brexit plan

The Government could do more to promote the country’s attractiveness for companies that will have to uproot operations from the UK because of Brexit, according to a survey of Irish chief executives.

Almost three-quarters of over 200 CEOs surveyed by PwC believe an improved national strategy is required to lure projects here.

The CEOs cite personal taxes, the housing crisis, skills deficits, poor infrastructure and regulations among their concerns.

PwC Ireland’s Brexit partner, David McGee, said there were opportunities to tap a significant amount of investments.

“Of those survey participants who have UK operations, over a quarter are either planning to relocate some or all of their operations to Ireland or this is under consideration,” Mr McGee said.

“It is important that Ireland maximises the opportunities from Brexit. Ireland has a pro-business environment, a highly skilled and flexible workforce and will be the only English speaking EU member state post-Brexit with the same common law jurisdiction as the UK. Ireland is therefore recognised by many business leaders as a great location to do business. However, we will need to do all we can to secure any potential business that may come our way,” he said.

Most CEOs believe that the UK will leave in March 2019, prime minister Theresa May having triggered the start of divorce proceeding under Article 50 in March.

“The facts remain that with the complexities of what need to be negotiated, any trade negotiations will likely take longer than two years to complete,” said managing partner Feargal O’Rourke.

“There is no doubt that a hard-Brexit with no exit agreement or free-trade-transition arrangement by end March 2019 would be uncharted waters for Irish businesses with a very different business landscape emerging.

“Ireland has done well to have its priorities included in the EU Brexit negotiating priorities agreed at the European Council EU27 meeting in Brussels at the end of April. It must be borne in mind, however, that Ireland will be only one of the EU27 bloc in any final ratifications,” Mr O’Rourke said.

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