Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Brexit in Numbers for Ireland

Paul Sweeney: The CSO has published a useful paper on what the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union will mean for Ireland. We have seen that there will be some advantages with the exit of the British in a recent blog by Prof James Wickhamthough overall the impact will be negative on the economy. 

European social cohesion and corporate governance may improve as the British were quite negative on this and other issues including the anti-social (not paying tax) behaviour of multinational corporations and finance companies (which some/many here support). Thus Britain’s absence will be of benefit in building social progress in the longer term in Europe.

The British were never really pro European, with many hankering after their defunct Empire ie making Britain great again! But there will be immediate economic costs to us (and more to them).

Last year 14% of Irish goods were exported to the UK and over a quarter (25.7%) of goods imported were from the UK. Oil and gas were the biggest imports, (much of which could be sourced elsewhere).

Ireland exported €112.4bn of goods last year and €15.6bn (13.9%) of these goods went to the UK. The main types of goods exported to the UK in 2015 were: 
    • Meat & meat preparations (€1.9bn), 
    • Medical & pharmaceutical products (€1.5bn),
    • Organic chemicals (€1.0bn), 
    • Essential oils, perfume materials; toilet & cleansing preps (€0.8bn) and 
    • Dairy products & birds’ eggs (€0.8bn).                    (....birds' eggs! -the high tech economy!)

In 2014 almost a fifth (18%) of services exported were to the UK but we imported a much lesser amount - a tenth (10%) of imported services were from the UK. 

UK firms Here and Irish Firms There
At the end of last year, 2015, over one-tenth of foreign investment by Irish firms were in the UK. 86,180 workers in the UK were working for Irish owned firms. The turnover of all Irish owned firms in foreign lands was €99bn in 2014 and of this €37.6bn (38%) was in the UK. 

Of all direct investment into Ireland at the end of 2015. the UK accounted for 4.6% of the stock then (equivalent to half of Irish investment in the UK).  

The total value of Irish residents’ holdings of foreign securities was €1,935bn at December 2014 of which €343bn, or 17.7%, of the total holdings were in the UK. 

People and Tourism
There were 8.6 million tourist trips to Ireland and those from Britain accounted for 3.5 million (41%) of these trips. The total expenditure (excluding fares) by non-residents on overseas trips to Ireland was €4.2bn in 2015 and expenditure by visitors from Britain accounted for €971m (23%) of this. The average spend of the Brits was half of the average, proabley as they spend less time here, as it is close.

There are 112,000 UK nationals living in Ireland which is just 2.5% of our 4,525,281 citizens. 41% are at work and a lot are retired here too. More are unemployed proportionately than for the rest of the population though that applies to the proportion of Brits at work here too.

2nd Hand Cars
The number of second hand private cars registered was 51,663 in 2014 and most of these cars (97%) had been sourced from the UK (including mine). 

Early next year the CSO will track our links with the UK as it proceeds with the slow train crash that is Brexit.

(See also today's interview with Bertie Ahern on this subject and more at Social Europe).

Paul Sweeney is Chair of the TASC Economists Network.

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