Certainly in the Republic, there is bewilderment at the turn of events, but being Irish and possessing congenital bouncebackability, some business people are already sniffing out opportunities and possibilities should a hard Brexit occur. With subtle encouragement from Ireland, banks and financial institutions are already looking to move offices out of the UK, and Bloomberg recently reported that Dublin, not Frankfurt or Paris, could be the city of choice. Bloomberg said: “Dublin has emerged as one of the favourites for London-based banks seeking uninterrupted access to the bloc post-Brexit, with Standard Chartered Plc, Barclays Plc and Bank of America Corp. likely to choose the city for their new EU hubs.”
Finn Hansel, managing director of removals company Movinga has no doubt that Dublin will benefit. A recent survey by his company found that the workers themselves were dictating the choices of new home bases.
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According to Movinga’s index, Dublin is the best destination in the EU for London-based bankers forced to move after Brexit. Dublin benefits from being the only other major city that has English as its first language. The cost of renting a flat in Dublin is also markedly cheaper than in Paris, Frankfurt or Luxembourg, Hansel said: “Everyone is talking about cities like Paris and Frankfurt preparing for an influx of banking industry workers due to Brexit, “But other cities like Dublin, Valletta, Luxembourg and Amsterdam may actually be better equipped to make these workers feel happy and at home.”
Be assured, Dublin is standing by to take advantage of any exodus from London, and an independent Scotland would be even better placed to attract City jobs. Others in Ireland are determined to see post-Brexit trade with whatever is left of the UK.
Telecoms company Magnet Networks has announced its own “Brentry” by offering free office space in the heart of London to Irish businesses looking to expand to Britain.
The ‘Launchpad For London’ initiative will see ten Irish companies establish themselves rent-free in London’s new smart city at Wembley Park, while also enjoying the fastest connection speeds in the capital.
Magnet Networks CEO Mark Kellett said: “With Brexit dominating the news, it is easy to forget that Britain is our largest trading partner and offers better access to funders, a better attitude to risk and a massive market for many Irish firms.”
The sheer fact of Ireland being so economically dependent on the UK is exactly the same as Scotland, so the anti-independence campaigner continually remind us, but could the Irish ‘can do’ attitude to post-Brexit existence in these islands show Scotland a way forward?
David Skilling is Director of Landfall Strategy, a Singapore-based economic advisory firm, and renowned as an expert on small countries’ economies.
He said: “Scotland has significant economic exposures that it needs to address, and it might need the security of a larger economic unit. But it is not obvious that the UK provides such security, especially now that it is on a path to leave the EU’s single market and customs union.
“Independence would allow Scotland to develop policies that are more in line with other successful small economies – not least by retaining EU membership. As Scotland confronts the strategic challenges of Brexit, it will also have an opportunity to develop policies that are better suited to it.”
As this series has consistently shown, the fact that Scotland is a small country may be much more of a benefit than a hindrance.