Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today addressed a meeting of Irish business leaders in Ibec Head Office, Dublin, on the theme ‘A Vision of Inclusion: Global Scotland - Open for Business'. At the meeting Ibec CEO Danny McCoy stressed the need to redouble our efforts to deepen the business and economic ties between the two countries, given the new and very unwelcome challenges that the Brexit vote presents. Over 130 CEOs and senior business figures attended the event, representing all sectors of the Irish economy, including major employers in financial services, food, energy, education, technology and life sciences.
Ibec CEO Danny McCoy said: "Brexit must not be allowed to upset the deep and collaborative ties that already exist between our two countries. Instead, we need to refocus our efforts on identifying shared opportunities and overcoming shared challenges. Right across the economy, from energy to education, from agri-food to life sciences, we must work closer together and learn from each other. Irish business will play its full part.
"Despite the uncertainties, our underlying economic strengths mean we can look to the future with confidence and optimism. Scottish exports to Ireland are already worth €1.3 billion and Irish investment into Scotland supports 6300 jobs. There is enormous potential to significantly improve on this over the coming years," he said.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Scotland and Ireland have a long history of economic co-operation and today was a great opportunity to hear from some of Ireland’s leading business figures about how we can strengthen these ties. Scotland is an attractive place to do business and I want to be clear that we will continue to be open for business with Ireland and all our European partners. We value the on-going investment in the Scottish economy from Irish businesses and today we have discussed how we can work together to increase investment and the long term prosperity of both countries.”
Ibec's Danny McCoy continued: "We share a firm ambition to better embrace and promote innovation and technology right across the economy. This needs to be supported by meaningful, ongoing collaboration. This is already happening in many areas, but we need to identify new ways of working together. We need to better connect the universities and higher education sectors of Scotland and Ireland, and we need to ensure that businesses can benefit directly from such collaboration."
"Major new investment is needed if we are to make the most of shared opportunities. The many similarities between our economies has meant that Ireland's new National Planning Framework has been heavily based on the Scottish model. The hope is that the Scottish plan will inspire in ours a renewed and concerted focus on regional development and the creation of an infrastructure system that better connects all our businesses and citizens alike," Mr McCoy concluded.