In a new ICT policy paper published today, the British Irish Chamber of Commerce has called for the Government to turn Brexit into an opportunity for Ireland’s tech sector by appointing a Technology Ambassador to represent the sector in Silicon Valley and developing a national ICT hub to drive innovation.

To maximise the limited benefits of Brexit for Ireland, the Chamber’s ICT Committee points towards the urgent need for Ireland to win the war for talent, drive entrepreneurism, incentivise investment, and support the sector’s growth capacity.

The Irish ICT sector has played a critical role in fuelling employment growth in recent years with over 105,000 people working in the sector in Ireland today, a rose of 40% since 2010. Dublin’s ‘Silicon Docks’ is at the centre of that growth in activity and is now home to more than 1,200 start-ups and 250 global tech companies.

The Chamber’s policy paper recommends that the Government:

– Reduce the marginal rate of personal taxation:
– Reform the Special Assignee Relief Programme by increasing the rate of relief from 30% to 40% and reducing the threshold from €75,000 to €65,000;
– Introduce a reduced rate of Capital Gains Tax for entrepreneurs engaged in innovation activities;
– Increase the investment limit of the Start-up Refunds for Entrepreneurs (SURE) from €100,000 to €250,000;
– Appoint a Technology Ambassador to represent Ireland and the Irish tech sector in Silicon Valley;
– Invest in a one-stop-shop National ICT Hub to be the nerve centre for the Irish ICT ecosystem.

Speaking at the publication of the policy paper, John McGrane, the Director-General of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce, said:

“As the Digital Hub of Europe, Ireland is well placed to maximise the limited benefits resulting from the UK’s decision to withdraw from the EU. The Chamber is promoting Ireland as the next best option for UK firms that need unfettered access to the EU’s Single Market, in particular within the fintech sector.

“However, the ability to attract suitably skilled employees to Ireland is proving to be a significant challenge. If we are to win this ‘war for talent’, the high tax burden on employees and firms relocating to Ireland must be urgently addressed.”

Pat Flood, Chair of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce ICT Committee added:

“In light of the UK’s Brexit vote, the Committee has set out to identify key policy issues that need to be addressed by the Irish Government to sustain the sector’s growth. Given the ICT sector in Ireland is global by its very nature, we must be global in our approach.

“Therefore, we would call on the Government to consider creating a Technology Ambassador to focus on and represent the Irish tech sector in Silicon Valley and establish new a National ICT Hub centred in Dublin but with satellite hubs in the south, west, northwest and the midlands.”