Fine Gael Leadership Contest

Posted June 1st, 2017

Recently, after leading the country through an incredibly difficult period, Enda Kenny stepped down as leader of Fine Gael. An Taoiseach encouraged me in to politics before I was even a member of Fine Gael. It’s been a privilege to serve with him in Government.

Michael Noonan, the Minister for Finance, also indicated his intention to step down. Michael has been an incredible mentor to me this past year and I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work so closely with him.

A vote will conclude on 2nd June to decide who will succeed Enda Kenny as Fine Gael leader. I have publicly declared my support for Leo Varadkar and am actively campaigning to help him win the Party’s nomination. You can find out more here.


Flying the flag for Ireland in Canada

Posted March 24th, 2017

In celebration of St Patrick’s Day, I joined Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the head of the Paddy’s Day parade in Montreal. It was a great opportunity to meet the Canadian PM and chat about issues like the new free trade agreement with the European Union.

In Toronto and Montreal, as well as renewing important links with the Irish Diaspora, both young and old, I met with members of the business community and promoted Ireland’s case as the location of choice for Canadian financial services companies seeking access to the EU’s Single Market.

To see some pictures from the trip go here.

For more details of the trip, including ice hockey adventures, meeting ex-pats who’ve been in Canada since the 1940s, and visiting the Irish Immigration Centre, go here.


FOLLOWING on from our latest trip to Brussels (here), I was in London again last week, where I met with key figures in business to outline Ireland’s preparations for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.

Following a City of London Corporation round-table discussion on the implications of Brexit for financial services in northern Europe, I touched base with the Irish International Business Network. Later, I held a number of bilateral meetings with IDA clients.

In an interview with, I explained why Ireland, as an English-speaking, common law jurisdiction with access to the single market, is the natural location of choice for financial services companies seeking to relocate from London. I also outlined the work the Government is doing to facilitate companies in terms of infrastructure, such as office space, housing and schooling.

You can watch the interview here.

With the former Commissioner, Lord Jonathan Hill, I participated in an evening panel discussion with audience participation on key considerations as we approach the invocation of Article 50 and the beginning of negotiations.

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AS part of our ongoing efforts to bring financial services jobs to Ireland and safeguard our nation’s economy as Brexit approaches, I was in Brussels last week for meetings with key EU decision-makers and private sector stakeholders.

Throughout my engagements, I emphasised that Ireland is very much open for new business within the context of a responsible regulatory framework overseen by the Central Bank, aimed at facilitating growth and combining this with long-term economic stability.

In meetings with the European Commission’s Vice-President, Valdis Dombrovskis, and members of the European Parliament’s ECON committee, I explained our preparations for Brexit as part of the 2017 Action Plan under our IFS2020 strategy.

I also took part in a panel discussion, ‘Fintech and Digital Innovation’, on the regulatory implications for governments and the industry of advances in financial services technology. My address focused on the challenge of finding the balance between prudence and innovation.

You can see a photo from the Fintech event here.

Read more about my work in Brussels and London here.



This week I returned once again to London to promote Ireland as a location for financial-services companies eyeing up possible relocation post-Brexit.

Over recent months we’ve been visiting locations across the world to press the case for Ireland as the location of choice for international financial-services companies seeking access to the Single Market. That effort, and our showcasing of Ireland at the recent European Financial Forum in Dublin Castle, is all about bringing sustainable and high-value jobs to both Dublin and the rest of the country.

Central to this particular visit was promoting the case for Dublin as the next location for the European Banking Authority, which is currently based in London’s Canary Wharf.

You can watch an early morning interview with Bloomberg, here.

I told City AM that we are on track to meet the target in IFS2020 of an additional 10,000 financial-services jobs in the five years to the end of 2019 and explained how we have stepped up our ambitions in the wake of Brexit.

You can read the full piece, here.

Read the IFS2020 strategy and our Action Plan for 2017 here.


OVER 700 delegates attended the European Financial Forum at Dublin Castle and it was a privilege to host such a successful event, which brought international leaders from the world of finance. It was a timely opportunity to showcase what we have to offer financial services companies as an English-speaking and pro-business country with access to the EU’s single market.

As I told the Irish Times in an interview ahead of the Forum’s opening, it marked the beginning of the next phase, in which Ireland steps up its efforts to attract financial services and Fintech companies who are looking to relocate from the UK as the possible implications of Brexit become clearer.

I added: “We must now act to increase the size and capacity of Ireland’s financial sector in order to meet the needs of the European single market.”

As Minister of State with responsibility for Financial Services, I am working tirelessly to bring business and high-value jobs both to Dublin and to our regions, where so many companies are already thriving and growing.

Speaking to the blog levaris later in the week, I explained that our 2017 Action Plan for the implementation of IFS2020, our financial services strategy, placed particular emphasis on both the challenges and opportunities presented by Brexit.

The vision is to make Ireland the global location of choice when it comes to specialisation and innovation in financial services. IFS2020 will help us to make those gains and really position us internationally as a place to set up and avail of a suite of innovative and cutting-edge financial services products.

Read the full levaris interview here.

And the Irish Times interview here.

You can watch my interview with the Financial Times here.

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Asia Trip January 2017

Posted January 20th, 2017

In January I undertook a four-day trip to Beijing and Hong Kong to promote Ireland’s financial services (IFS) sector, during which I met officials in the Chinese Ministry of Finance, the People’s Bank of China and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, amongst others.

I spoke at the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong on the subject of cyber-security and payment technologies and outlined the role and strength of indigenous Irish FinTech companies, which are playing a vital role as our IFS2020 Strategy continues its progress towards the creation of 10,000 new financial services jobs in the five years to the end of 2019. Take a look at some photos here, here and here.

The China visit was the latest in a series of overseas engagements at which I and my team have been promoting ‘IFS Ireland’, a task that has assumed even greater importance for our country in view of Britain’s forthcoming departure from the EU.

You can watch an interview with CNBC here and read a report with Bloomberg here.

There are some more photos on Twitter, like this one of me closing the Honk Kong Stock Exchange, here, or speaking at an investor’s lunch here.

Read more on my trip to Beijing and Hong Kong here.

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Bloomberg interview– Brexit Plans

Posted January 19th, 2017

During a recent trade mission to London I did a Bloomberg interview about our financial services post-Brexit. The trip was focussed on promoting Irish Financial Services and advancing the IFS 2020 Strategy which aims to increase jobs in the sector by 10,000.

You can watch the video here.


UK Firms moving to Dublin?

Posted December 2nd, 2016

IN an interview with Reuters this week, I outlined how the Government is engaging with financial services firms that are eyeing up Ireland as a possible base after Britain leaves the European Union. Attracting businesses here is, of course, key to our job-creation strategy.

Speaking in London at an Irish Funds conference to promote Dublin’s financial sector, I revealed that the Central Bank here has already held “pre-application” discussions for licences from a number of financial firms based in London.

While emphasising that “This isn’t about taking advantage of a difficulty that the UK is in,” I added: “We (in Ireland) do recognise that businesses will have needs as a result of Brexit and we are here to help manage those needs.”

The Government is especially keen to attract companies in the emerging financial technology sector.

I explained that we are working hard, in co-operation with the private sector, to develop more office space and enhanced transport links to Dublin’s suburbs.

My full interview with Reuters can be read here.


US Launch of IFS Ireland

Posted November 21st, 2016

Recently I travelled to New York to officially launch the IFS IRELAND banner brand in the United States. This is an action under the IFS 2020 Strategy with the goal of positioning Ireland as the destination of choice for specialist financial services and innovation. I also attended World Bank and IMF meetings in Washington DC.

To read more about my trip, go here.

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