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Enda Kenny TD, Former Taoiseach of Ireland, Addresses Matheson New York Brexit Conference

AUTHOR(S): Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Grace
DATE: 19.10.2017

Enda Kenny TD, former Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland from 2011 to 2017, delivered an address to Matheson's New York Brexit Conference on 18 October on the theme of ‘Navigating Access to the EU Market Post-Brexit: Perspectives on Ireland’. The event focused on the many open Brexit-related questions for US multinationals with business operations in Europe, including impacts on existing operating models and supply chains, and how multinationals with a significant presence in the UK can ensure continued access to European markets beyond the departure of the UK from the European Union.

Speaking from New York, Matheson Managing Partner, Michael Jackson, said: “In the absence of the necessary clarity around Brexit, businesses are now making decisions to secure their long-term ability to access European markets beyond Brexit. Ireland’s proven track record of supporting internationally-focused companies means that it is strongly positioned to partner with these companies as they now make decisions around their medium to long-term plans. Ireland is committed to remaining at the heart of the EU and EU decision-making, and has a history of providing legal and regulatory certainty, tax certainty, access to European markets and substance. Ireland will be the only English-speaking, common law country in the EU post-Brexit and it is committed to its 12.5% corporation tax rate.”

Head of Matheson’s US Offices, John Ryan said: “At Matheson, we are committed to assisting our clients to prepare for Brexit and to keeping them up to date on European Brexit dialogue and political developments. Notwithstanding the uncertainty around global trade policy as well as US tax reform and the challenges around Brexit, Matheson sees the Irish-US relationship growing stronger and Ireland becoming an even more important gateway to EU markets for US companies.”

The panel session at the event, which was led by John Ryan, Head of Matheson’s US Offices, together with Mark O'Sullivan, US Resident Tax Partner, San Francisco and Palo Alto, Matheson, examined the critical factors for US companies in developing their Brexit contingency plans. Guest speakers included Paul Eddy, Senior VP and Group General Counsel for International Insurance, Travelers; Brian P. Iaia, Esq, Senior VP and General Counsel at United Healthcare Global; James Kelly, Chairman, CEO, and founder of HedgeServ.

Speaking about the Brexit negotiations, the necessity for a transitional period and the prospects of a ‘Hard Brexit’ ahead of Matheson’s conference yesterday in New York, Enda Kenny TD said: “Nowhere is the challenge of politics and taking decisions in the interests of the people more clearly demonstrated than in trying to deal with the consequences of the Brexit vote in the UK. And when it comes to the negotiations between the UK government and the EU, I believe that not enough progress has been made in the first phase of talks to allow progression to the second phase. It’s also my view that a transition arrangement will be necessary, if and when the two-year timetable for negotiations is not met, and I think that transition period should take as long as is required to find a solution that works in the interest of all the people affected. Finally, the prospect of a ‘Hard Brexit’ that many are now discussing would, in my opinion, be catastrophic for business and by extension terrible for the people that politics is meant to serve. That is the challenge now for those involved directly in the ongoing talks.”

Matheson is the law firm of choice for international companies and financial institutions doing business in and through Ireland. Alongside our headquarters in Dublin, we have three offices in the US – in New York, San Francisco and Palo Alto. We also have a strong presence in the UK for over 20 years through our London office.

Should you have any queries with respect to the implications of Brexit for your business, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our Managing Partner, Michael Jackson or + 353 1 232 2219, or your usual Matheson contact.

For further Brexit-related updates, visit our Brexit Forum.

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