The Irish economy has recovered very well over the past several years, and now outpaces the rest of the European Union. At the recent European Insurance Forum (EIF) in Dublin, spoke with the Irish Minister of State Simon Harris, from the Departments of Finance, Public Expenditure & Reform, about the recovery and the vision for the future of Ireland’s financial services sector.

Minister Harris says “by whatever economic metric…the Irish economy is moving in the right direction.“  Ireland was the fastest growing economy in Europe last year and is expected to be again this year. Unemployment is decreasing from a high of 15%, where the Minster expects have full employment by 2018. Minister Harris expects that 100,000 new jobs will be created by the end of this year.

Mr. Harris attributes the economic recovery to three factors: first, the resilience of the Irish people; secondly, Governmental policies that were pro-growth and pro-jobs, and finally the government’s successful negotiation with the European Union and the IMF to restructure debt and payment options.

Concerning the OECD’s Action Plan on Base Erosion Profit Sharing (BEPS), Minister Harris said, in terms of international taxation issues, it is important they are agreed upon at the national level. “Foreign direct investment in Ireland is substantive…and it is making a tangible impact on local communities in terms of employment and tax revenue.“

In terms of regulation, Minister Harris believes it is important that they be under contestant review…there is never any room for compliancy. “Regulation needs to be business responsive”

Ireland recently launched its IFS 2020 strategy, which is Ireland’s vision to grow the International Financial Services sector. In 1980, there were 35 people working in the IFS sector, according to Minister Harris. Last year there were 35,000 employed in the sector. By 2019, there are plans to add 10,000 more jobs in that sector. Plans also include growth in Irish-based companies within that sector as well.

For more World Risk and Insurance News from the 2015 European Insurance Forum (EIF) Conference in Dublin, visit the dedicated EIF 2015 Channel in the On Demand Library.

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