Dublin to seize post-referendum opportunity to welcome City of London firms and foreign investment

‘When you look though the prism of foreign direct investment, London’s loss could be Dublin’s gain’

The Irish capital shares many of the advantages of London: the English language, an enterprise culture and the same time zone
The Irish capital shares many of the advantages of London: the English language, an enterprise culture and the same time zone

The initial reaction in Dublin to the Brexit vote was dismay. Most Irish people believe the UK’s departure will damage the economy, according to a survey published on Friday.

But the city is now sensing an opportunity to capitalise on the UK’s exit from the EU – by becoming “London-on-Liffey,” attracting corporate headquarters from the City and foreign investment previously directed at Britain. Even easyJet which doesn’t even fly to the Republic could set up its HQ in Dublin.

The Irish capital shares many of the advantages of London: the English language, an enterprise culture and the same time zone – enabling contact with both the Far East and the US west coast in a single working day. The term “Dublon” has been coined to describe the city’s possible future status.

The survey of Irish attitudes was commissioned by Dan Pender, managing director of marketing firm PR360. While 56 per cent feared damage to the Irish economy, one in three could see opportunities.

“When you look though the prism of foreign direct investment, London’s loss could be Dublin’s gain,” said Mr Pender. “The most obvious opportunity is financial services. We have low corporation tax, an educated workforce and pro-enterprise approach. Those are the qualities that resonate with business.”

Many UK-based companies are searching for potential bases in the rest of the European Union, to enable them to continue to trade in the same way when Britain leaves the EU.

The biggest budget airline, easyJet, is looking widely for a possible EU location to set up a subsidiary. An Air Operator Certificate (AOC) from another European nation would allow easyJet to retain all the advantages of the current “open skies” rules, which entitle it to fly between any two EU airports.

Another option for easyJet is to set up a legal HQ abroad, and Dublin is a strong contender. There are frequent flights from the Irish capital to the airline’s biggest base, Gatwick, and its existing headquarters at Luton airport. None of them, though, are operated by easyJet – which currently does not serve the Republic.

While Dublin airport handles only one-sixth the number of airline passengers as London’s airports, links to the city are growing rapidly. This year new routes have been launched to Athens, Los Angeles, Vancouver and Hartford in Connecticut.

Last week the UK government announced another delay on the decision about the location of the next runway to serve London. In Dublin, permission for a second runway has already been given, and work on the project is due to begin later this year.

A spokesperson said: “Dublin airport’s north runway development has the potential to open up connectivity to a range of long-haul destinations, particularly in fast growing economies in Asia, Africa and South America. The delivery of a new runway could support a further 31,000 new jobs over the next two decades, contributing €2.2bn (£1.9bn) to GDP.”

Britain WILL be at the back of the queue after Brexit, says US Ambassador

Some businesses, though, have expressed serious concern about a drop in tourism from the UK. Nearly half the tourists to Ireland are from Britain, with 3.5 million arrivals in 2015.

Padraic Og Gallagher, owner of Gallagher’s Boxty House in Temple Bar, Dublin told Bloomberg News: “From 2009 to 2014, the English were not coming, because of the currency. They have started coming back in the last two years.

“They are penny conscious, they know their pound.”

There are also worries about the possibility of a “hard” border between the Republic and Northern Ireland. At present there are no controls on the international frontier, but it will become an outer frontier of the EU.

While the Northern Ireland Secretary, Theresa Villiers, was a prominent member of the Leave campaign, it appears she did not discuss the border with the key players until after the vote.

In an article for The Guardian, she wrote: “Ensuring that our one land border with the EU remains as open and free-flowing as it is today is also vital for Northern Ireland. So in the hours after the referendum result became clear, I discussed this issue with the Irish foreign minister, Charlie Flanagan, and with Northern Ireland’s first and deputy first ministers.”

Dan Pender, whose survey shows six out of seven Irish citizens are against frontier controls, said: “It’s a serious issue for the island of Ireland, with historic as well as economic considerations. The vast majority of people would regard border controls as a retrograde step.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in