THERE are few if any upsides to Brexit for Ireland. But one small potential silver lining to that dark cloud is that we could become an attractive location for high-calibre jobs leaving Britain and seeking another EU location. The IDA, which did very good work attracting inward investment in the teeth of the recent recession, is again on the case here. Access to EU markets, an educated Englishspeaking workforce, respect for the rule of law, a reasonably efficient dispute-resolution system, and the 12.5pc company tax rates, are known to be advantages that this country can use.
But when it comes to getting some of those premium jobs, there are other factors which focus on the quality of life we can offer. Here it is about urban planning, traffic management, and a sense that our political leaders and administrators have a bigger-picture vision of where this country is going.
Adequate and affordable housing is crucial. This again gives yet more incentives, to add to the basic humanitarian reasons, to resolve the housing crisis which is a blight on our land right now.
The alarming gaps in our public transport systems, when compared with other EU member states, is another issue which must be tackled. In this newspaper today, senior IDA executives speak frankly of the need to address these and other issues.
Ever the pragmatists, they accept that the Government is grappling with legacy issues, after years of recession when money was not available for infrastructural investment. Our difficulties cannot be resolved overnight – but the production of credible plans to tackle them, and evidence of progress in doing so, would be a very good start.