The decision by British Prime Minister David Cameron to opt-out of the new fiscal integration arrangements across the EU could have serious consequences for the future of the financial services industry in Ireland, according to Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath.

Deputy McGrath stated, “Prime Minister Cameron opted out of the new arrangements because he failed to secure concessions for the financial services industry in the City of London. Given that a new financial transactions tax is likely to form part of the new arrangements that will apply to the other 26 EU countries, this could put Ireland’s financial services industry at a major disadvantage compared to London.

“We could soon have a situation where the financial services industry in Ireland will be subject to a new transactions tax, but the City of London will be exempt. Such a scenario could have serious ramifications for what is a critically important industry in Ireland. The financial services industry is highly mobile and we cannot allow a situation where London becomes a more attractive base than Ireland because of a new tax.

“IFSC firms now employ 33,000 in Ireland. The industry is a major contributor to the Irish economy. The Strategy for the International Financial Services Industry in Ireland 2011-2016, launched in July, targets the creation of 10,000 net new jobs.

“The Taoiseach Enda Kenny needs to urgently clarify if Ireland has committed to a new financial transactions tax and to state clearly what the implications of such a tax would be for Ireland given that the UK will be exempt.”