Back in early December, economist David McWilliams stated that the changes to British banking laws represented a "gilt-edged opportunity" for Ireland and our struggling economy and underemployed young graduates and workers.
Today's NY Times confirms what McWilliams said last month. The Times reports that British based American bankers are not prepared to accept Britain's new laws on bankers' compensation. The British government wants to restrict banks' and other finance houses' bonus policies and has imposed a limit of £1m for a bonus, beyond which only 40% of the bonus can be used immediately. This change, coupled with Britain's new 50% tax on bankers' bonuses has made American banks unhappy.
As McWilliams says, it's not hard to sympathize with the British motives, but that doesn't change the fact that those disaffected American banks could be a real boost to our small and weak economy. If they can be enticed here the banks would boost the government's coffers with corporation tax (even at 12%, the amounts would be large) and income tax on those bankers' salaries.
We have the space, there are many, many empty corporate offices in Dublin now, we have the telecommunications infrastructure, we have the unemployed college grads,we have frequent flights to NY or anywhere in Europe and Ireland is English-speaking.
It's a no-brainer. I'm sure the Industrial Development Authority is already on the prowl, but if you happen to have the ear of any bankers over there, you might point them in our direction. A hundred thousand welcomes awaits them.