Irish May Defy Brexit to Hit Full Employment Soon, Donohoe Says

(Bloomberg) -- Ireland may return to full employment next year even as the threat of Brexit looms, the nation’s finance minister said.

The government is vying to win further banking jobs as London-based operations seek to keep a foothold in the European Union after the U.K. exits the bloc, Paschal Donohoe said in Bloomberg Television interview in New York.

“We have between 25,000 and 30,000 jobs associated with financial services at the moment, ” Donohoe said. “That’s a figure we believe we can grow.’’

Irish May Defy Brexit to Hit Full Employment Soon, Donohoe Says

Goodbody Stockbrokers estimates that Dublin could gain as many as 15,000 financial jobs from Brexit. That may help offset the impact of Brexit -- with about 15 percent of its exports going to the U.K., Ireland is the EU nation most exposed to Britain’s departure. Returning to full employment would mark one of the last stages of recovery from the nation’s economic crisis, when the jobless rate rose to over 15 percent. Unemployment dropped to 6 percent last month.

Ireland is also pitching to host the European Banking Authority, which is being forced from London after Brexit, competing with cities including Frankfurt and Vienna.

“I’m confident we are going to put a good case forward, but like any election, if you indicate confidence, you are halfway to losing,” he said. “It’s up to our colleagues and friends in other states to decide how to vote.”

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