DUBLIN Jan 3 Companies considering quitting
Britain due to its departure from the EU are likely to start
making investment decisions from the second quarter, the head of
the agency competing to win foreign business for Ireland said on
Industrial Development Agency Ireland has already fielded
Brexit-related enquiries from more than 100 firms, a lot of
which have progressed to site visits, its chief executive Martin
Shannahan also said at a news conference.
Given the countries' close trading links, Ireland is widely
considered the European Union economy most at risk from
Britain's decision to quit the bloc. But it is also well placed
to draw business away from its neighbour, particularly in
Shannahan said some companies had already narrowed down
"My expectation is that by Q2 of 2017 we will start to see
companies make decisions," he said, announcing that the number
of employees of multinationals in Ireland hit a high in 2016.
British Prime Minister Theresa has said she plans to begin
the two years of exit negotiations with the EU by the end of
"It is not likely that companies will await the outcome of
(those) negotiations," Shannahan said. "..I think the political
timeline and the commercial timeline are entirely incompatible.
That is particularly true in the financial services sector."
Inquiries to the IDA were also likely to rise in the
technology and pharmaceutical sectors, he added.
He said North American companies would make Brexit-related
decisions first, followed by Asian and lastly by British and
European ones, which might be willing to wait longer to see how
the negotiations play out.
Ireland, whose economy is the fastest-growing in the EU, is
already a major hub for big employers including Apple,
Pfizer and Citibank.
Multinational companies added a net 12,000 jobs there last
year, bringing their rosters in Ireland to 200,000, or close to
one in 10 of the overall workforce.
Some U.S. companies might also put off investment decisions
until they saw details of President-elect Donald Trump's
taxation policies, Shannahan added.
(editing by John Stonestreet)