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By Chamber Press Office, 02 January 2019
Businesses have praised the performance of the Irish government in Brexit negotiations so far.
More than two thirds (69%) of respondents to a new Dublin Chamber survey rated the Government's performance so far as either 'very good' (25%) or 'good' (44%). Just 6% of respondents said they viewed the Government's performance as 'poor' (5%) or 'very poor' (1%).
The Chamber carried out the survey amongst 400 of its member companies during the two weeks prior to Christmas.
Businesses are also encouraged by the renewal of the confidence & supply agreement between Fianna Fail & the Government.
When asked whether the renewal was a positive or negative for business, two thirds of respondents said the move was either positive (47%) or very positive (19%). One in three respondents viewed the agreement as a 'neutral' move for business, with just 3% believing the move to be negative. No respondents believed the deal to be 'very negative'.
The Chamber's survey also identified the biggest challenges for business going into 2019.
The ability to attract and retain key staff ranked as the biggest challenge facing firms over the coming 12 months. This also ranked as the biggest issue facing firms 12 months ago when firms were asked about the biggest challenges expected in 2018.
Unsurprisingly, Brexit is weighing heavy on the minds of business owners and managers. Fears about Brexit ranked second as the challenge firms are fearing most in 2019. This is a marked change from 12 months ago, when Brexit ranked as the 4th biggest concern for firms at the start of 2018.
The housing crisis continues to cause problems for businesses in Dublin. The cost of accommodation came in as the third biggest challenge facing business going into 2019, followed by the availability of accommodation in fourth position.
According to Dublin Chamber CEO Mary Rose Burke: "Irish businesses are in a relatively good place going in to 2019. However, this survey shows that there are a number of significant challenges that companies will need to overcome over the next 12 months. It's no surprise that fears over retaining and attracting good staff are top of mind - just as they were this time 12 months ago. With the country edging ever closer to full employment, competition for talent continues to heat up. We see this both at a national and international level. We have some of the world's best staff working in Dublin, but keeping them here - and attracting more like them - has never been tougher."
Other issues to rank high include traffic congestion (5th), tax increases (6th), rising insurance costs (7th), euro/sterling currency fluctuations (8th), commercial rates increases (9th), and rising utility costs (10th).
Ms Burke said: "Dublin is competing on a daily basis with other cities around the world and it is vital therefore that we ensure that Dublin is as attractive and as competitive as possible. This includes ensuring that Ireland's tax base is attractive and compares favourably with other cities, notably the UK cities. Measures must also be taken to continually improve the quality of life that's on offer in Dublin. Going in to 2019, solving the housing crisis remains the number one challenge for Dublin. We constantly hear from business owners and managers about the negative impact that the housing crisis is having on them. As the year progresses, we expect this to continue"
Ms Burke said: "All the signs point to a positive 2019 for business, but huge challenges remain. Uncertainty around Brexit remains high and a successful outcome for Ireland will be pivotal in encouraging Irish firms to invest ambitiously in their business. Over the course of 2019 it is likely that Irish firms will continue to attempt to insulate themselves from external shocks and from Brexit. This will see a number of firms look to expand their presence outside of Ireland and the UK by looking to new markets such as Asia. Dublin Chamber has already seen a sharp increase in the number of firms seeking to tap into the Asian market, with a 2-fold increase in the number of companies who will travel on our annual business mission to Hong Kong in mid-January 2019. There are huge opportunities for Irish firms in the Far East and we look forward to helping firms tap into them over the coming 12 months."
The Top 10 Challenges For Business in 2019
- Attracting/retaining key staff
- Cost of accommodation
- Availability of accommodation
- Traffic congestion
- Tax increases
- Rising insurance costs
- Euro/Sterling currency fluctuations
- Commercial Rates increases
- Rising Utility Costs
- Stability of the Government