Monthly Archives: September 2016

Ireland- subsiding housing market failure

Economics has a lot to say about market failure, its causes consequences and resolution.  The government know these. Indeed, at the cabinet table sits a man with formal economic training, in Richard Bruton, who knows these things. If they don’t, or have forgotten, then a phone call to the Government Economic Service will refresh or remind. Yet, despite this they have determined to reinforce the failure in the housing market with more failure. What fresh hell is this? In an environment where we have record homelessness the government adamantly sets its face against the acceptance that the market alone cannot, will not, is not able to even if it wished, provide sufficient homes for people, whether rented or purchased.

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Minister Bruton’s Eduprenairship

hindenburg_disaster_1937Last week the government launched a plan. An education plan. Like all plans, it should be taken with enough salt to preserve a whale, but plans are needed if only to know what we should be doing.  But plans should be coherent. A close examination of the plan suggests some worrying trends. We are creating an eduprenairship – full of ministerial hot air, conflating ideals that should not be conflated, slow to move, outdated, a hybrid nobody asked for which is hard to control and direct and prone to crashing. But it looks good and has a lovely dining trough, sorry car.

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What could Brexit look like? (Part 3 of 4) – Funds & Payments services/Fintech

A gloomy but logical view on the storm coming down the road

Ciarán McGonagle

In my previous post, I set out my thoughts on what Brexit might look like for UK-based firms offering regulated financial services within the EEA.

You can read my thoughts here.

In summary, I consider it extremely unlikely that any new passporting rights will be granted to UK firms and that, following a transitional period, firms will likely lose both existing passporting rights and full, comprehensive access to financial markets within the EEA.

In this post, I will look at the potential impact of Brexit on (i) UK fund managers and (ii) the UK payments services industry, including Fintech and what the UK might hope to achieve in negotiations in these areas.

Fund Management

In my view, the UK’s overriding objective with respect to the fund management industry will be to ensure that UK-based fund managers are able to continue managing and marketing their funds within the EEA with as…

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Now what?

Colm McCarthy writes , as usual, a very good column in the Sunday Independent. In essence it reminds us that post Brexit we have few allies in the EU. Whats missing is the conclusion as to what we can do, perhaps because not even Colm can figure that one out. Theres one thing we shouldn’t do however.

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Post Brexit will Irish citizens need a visa to go to the EU?

British citizens may have to apply online and pay to travel to Europe after the UK leaves the EU, under plans being drawn up by the bloc for a visa waiver programme similar to the US system.The European commission is due to unveil draft legislation for the EU travel information and authorisation system (Etias) later this year as part of a broader response to calls for greater security across the continent following recent terror attacks in France and Belgium.The scheme would cover all visitors to the passport-free 26-nation Schengen zone – of which Britain is not a member – from countries that do not need a visa to enter, EU sources confirmed.

Source: Britons may have to apply to visit Europe under EU visa waiver scheme | Politics | The Guardian

Now.. this is interesting. I have suggested before that we should consider joining Schengen. As things stand post Brexit we will be the ONLY EU country not therein or moving towards same. The Commission document underlying this is here . A discussion is here

Schengen is a visa free zone. We are in another, the Common Travel area. In effect we have over decades adopted a visa and travel scheme that the UK accepts as equivalent to its own, given the open border with Northern Ireland. But post Brexit that will be an open border with a third country.

We may face a choice – preservation of unrestricted movement with Tyrone or with the Tyrol. Can we remain part of the UK immigration system allowing them free movement into the EU and at the same time remain part of the EU system? Can we negotiate something as complex as that with a commission whom we are , in the Apple case, daily denigrating and catcalling? What makes us special snowflakes?

Schengen will deepen. As Europe moves more right this is inevitable. Can we be outside Schengen and truly be within Europe?

Its a mess.

What could Brexit look like? (part 2 of 4) – Regulated financial services

This is interesting. A technical post from a financial services legal perspective, on the real challenges facing UK financial services companies post Brexit.

Ciarán McGonagle

In my previous post, I outlined my intention to attempt to define what the environment for UK financial services couldlook like after Brexit. This post will concentrate on the provision of regulated financial services throughout the EEA.

In my view, the UK is likely to have three key objectives in negotiations with the EU on this topic:

  1. Preserve existing passporting rights for UK firms;
  2. Obtain an affirmative determination as quickly as possible on the equivalence of UK legislation with corresponding EU directives and regulations; and
  3. Ensure “access” to the Single Market.


There is no precedent for a non-EEA member being granted passporting rights. Indeed, it is difficult to conceive of a situation under the current regulatory framework where a country outside the EEA might be entitled to perform regulated activities within the EEA without being subject to any of the directives which govern such activities.

My expectation…

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Decline, but not fall, of an Irish Village.


Coming up to my 52nd birthday, I got thinking about the place in which I grew up, Waterville Co. Kerry, and where the family home still remains. In particular, I got to thinking about how the village commercial life has changed over the half century or so of my recall.

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economics-should-always-be-paramount-over-tax-considerations-dont-let-the-tax-tail-wag-the-investment-dog-robert-masonRegardless of whether or not an appeal should or should not be taken by the Irish government in relation to the Apple tax ruling, apple themselves will of course appeal. We should not mistake the individual issue, whether Apple did or did not get illegal state aid, for the broader issue of Ireland’s over reliance on (tax driven)  FDI. Its time for a rethink.

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17e4zx0fiiib3jpgTheres a lot of breathless posturing from the Government about the integrity of the tax system, post Apple. From the sound and fury one would imagine that the Commission (boo, hiss) had made a ruling that our 12.5% rate, blessed be its name, was in itself wrong. In fact all they have done is what they have done in numerous other cases – assert that state aid can be channeled by the tax system. Don’t believe me?  Continue reading