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Matheson’s International Business Group Update

AUTHOR(S): Robert O’Shea, Pat English
PRACTICE AREA GROUP: International Business
DATE: 01.09.2015

As we enter September 2015, we bring you our latest ezine with updates on a number of key recent Irish and EU legal developments that may impact your business in Ireland.

Companies Act 2014 – the new era begins!

Following a consultation and legislative process lasting over a decade, the Irish Companies Act 2014 finally came into effect on 1 June 2015.  If you hardly noticed, that’s a good thing!  If you need a reminder of how the introduction of the new legislation might affect your company, check out our Companies Act 2014 FAQs.

International companies with Irish subsidiaries will begin to benefit in a tangible sense from the new modern and consolidated company law code, including increased flexibility for cash repatriation in certain instances as well as additional options now available for group restructuring and reorganisations.

The Irish Companies Act 2014 further enhances Ireland’s pro-business legal infrastructure which has been a key factor underlying its establishment as a location of choice for inward investment.  That offering has brought about a remarkable 110 new investments by international companies in the first half of 2015 with the number of people employed in Ireland by US companies alone now estimated to be over 140,000.

Lobbying legislation introduced 

The Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 (the “Lobbying Act”), which came into effect on 1 September 2015, introduces new registration and disclosure obligations for those involved in lobbying activities in Ireland.  The purpose of the Lobbying Act is to increase transparency around lobbying activities and make information publicly available on those communicating with elected representatives and senior public officials on specific policy, legislative matters or decisions relating to expenditure of public funds (“relevant matters”) by way of a publicly accessible online register of lobbying. Those involved in such lobbying activities on relevant matters will have until 21 January 2016 to register as a lobbyist.

Trusted Partner Initiative for Irish employment permits 

The Trusted Partner Initiative (the “Scheme”) was launched by the Employment Permits Section of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (the "DJEI") on 12 May 2015.  The Scheme provides a process for employers who make frequent employment permit applications to the DJEI to do so in an expedited manner.  This initiative is a welcome enhancement of the existing system as it aims to reduce the turnaround time and administrative burden associated with permit applications.

Changes to filing requirements for Irish unlimited companies 

Legislation to transpose the provisions of EU Directive 2013/34/EU (the “2013 Directive”) into Irish law is expected to be introduced in the coming months.  The 2013 Directive replaces and amends previous EU company law directives dealing with the requirements for companies to prepare annual audited financial statements, consolidated financial statements and related matters.  The 2013 Directive will also have implications for the requirements for Irish unlimited companies to publicly file their audited financial statements at the Companies Registration Office (“CRO”).

Energy Efficiency Regulations 

New compliance requirements introduced by the European Union (Energy Efficiency) Regulations 2014 (the “2014 Regulations”), which came into force on 4 December 2014, are now beginning to come into focus for companies falling within the remit of the legislation.  The purpose of the 2014 Regulations is to give effect to the EU Energy Efficiency Directive (2012/27/EU) which identifies measures that must be introduced by EU Member States in order for the EU to meet its binding energy efficiency and emissions targets.

Updates on European Union law  

The following is an update on relevant EU legal developments which will have an impact on doing business in the European Union. The EU has provisionally announced a trade mark reform and harmonisation package. The reform package proposes to recast current EU law in the area and harmonise registration procedures to enable increased cooperation in this area. The European Commission published its Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe report in May of this year. Finally, a recent announcement from the Ministers in the Justice Council indicated that agreement has been reached on the general approach to the European Commission’s proposals for the General Data Protection Regulation.

Matheson in the news 

Matheson has won three International Tax Awards at the International Tax Review European Awards; Matheson was shortlisted by Legal Business for International Firm of the Year award; Matheson awarded two Finance Dublin Deal of the Year Awards; Matheson partner appointed to Government Data Forum; Matheson to host Cork Business Lunch with the American Chamber of Commerce; The Matheson Foundation shortlisted for 2015 Allianz Business to Arts Awards.


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