Brexit: Ireland says it can be a new base for worried UK businesses

Brexit: Ireland says it can be a new base for worried UK businesses

Irish minister says the country can offer solutions to UK businesses fearing the loss of EU passporting rights

Ireland could be a base for UK businesses worried about selling products and services to the EU after Brexit, the Irish financial services minister said on Monday.

"We're saying to people, if there are difficulties, Ireland can be part of the solution for passporting,” said Michael D’Arcy, minister of state for financial services and insurance.

He told CNBC that Ireland could “offer a very good solution for companies who potentially may have a difficulty” selling goods and services to the single market.

“We are a pro-business country”, said Mr D’Arcy. “We are non-protectionist”.

Passporting rights currently allow UK businesses, in particular financial services firms, to do business with all countries in the EU.

In November, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said that the UK will lose its passporting rights when it leaves the single market.

“On financial services, UK voices suggest that Brexit does not mean Brexit. Brexit means Brexit, everywhere,” said Mr Barnier.

Around 5,500 finance firms in the UK currently have EU passporting rights, with the industry exporting £27bn of services to the single market in 2016, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Brexit has also cast doubt over how many City jobs will remain in the capital. Recruiter Morgan McKinley in a report published last Wednesday said that London’s financial services industry had suffered an “alarming” drop in vacancies in December, with firms holding back on hiring plans because of Brexit.