Speaking at the All Ireland Civic Dialogue in Dublin, Social Democrats representative for Castleknock and Blanchardstown Aengus Ó Maoláin said that it is time for Ireland to stop coping with the fallout from Brexit, and start planning to maximise the opportunities presented by the UK’s departure from the EU.
“The decision by the UK to leave the European Union was the wrong one, and I regret it immensely, but not doing everything we can to make sure Ireland can thrive post-Brexit would be a great mistake.”
“We can’t, as we now do with the debt burden, look back in 5 years’ time and think, ‘if only we’d spoken up and not accepted what was foisted upon us.’ Let’s stop accepting a fate not of our choosing and start creating our own.”
Even though the final shape of the outcome of negotiations is not going to be clear for a very long time, and even the inevitability of Brexit is growing less certain, Ireland’s economy has many opportunities to come out of the process stronger than before.
Focusing on opportunities in housing, regional development and education, Ó Maoláin said:
“The problem with encouraging large foreign companies to establish themselves here is there is simply nowhere for their employees to live. The housing crisis has been a national disgrace for years, and is seriously damaging our competitiveness on the world stage when companies are looking for a new home.
“We also can’t let just Dublin bear both the strain, and disproportionate concentration of investment. We need a more coherent strategy to attract overseas actors to areas outside the very centre of the capital. Blanchardstown is a great example of a major hub for multinational headquarters, but we need to think even further afield.”
“Many Irish people have fairly low levels of foreign language skills compared to mainland Europe, and if we were to do just one thing to improve our chances of creating high quality jobs for young people here, and attracting more multinationals to set up in Ireland, we need to improve our language teaching from primary school and up.”
28 September 2017