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Brexit would be bad for UK but could be a real bonus for Republic, says Ryanair boss

By Colm Kelpie

Dublin could benefit greatly from a British withdrawal from the EU, as financial services companies will look to relocate from London, Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary has said.

Although Mr O'Leary is openly urging British voters to remain in the EU, claiming it would be a "crazy act of economic folly" to pull out, he said there would be at least one positive for Ireland.

"London will stay one of Europe's big financial capitals," Mr O'Leary said. "But a lot of the financial services industry will leave London and will relocate either to Frankfurt or to Dublin.

"Dublin will do well, especially in the financial services sector, because you'll find a lot of the foreign inward investment moving to an English-speaking economy like Ireland."

At a Brexit event hosted by law firm McCannFitzGerald, Goodbody Stockbrokers, economist Dermot O'Leary agreed.

"If you look at reasons why companies locate in particular countries, there are plenty of reasons, but one of the biggest reasons is access to a home market.

"Obviously that's the wider EU community, which falls away in a Brexit. So I can't see how Ireland wouldn't benefit from an increased flow of FDI in the event of the UK not being part of the EU."

Willie Walsh, the head of International Airlines Group (IAG), has said businesses should stay out of offering an opinion on whether the UK should vote to pull out of the European Union - unless they believe it will specifically affect their operations.

The boss of IAG, which owns British Airways, Aer Lingus, and Spanish carriers Iberia and Vueling, said he doesn't believe his business will be affected if there's a vote for a so-called Brexit on June 23.

"From a business point of view, we've taken the view that it's not for us to tell people how they should vote," Mr Walsh said.

"We've assessed the business impact and we've concluded that we don't identify any material impact for us. It clearly introduces some business uncertainty, but we think that will wash through.

"It's not going to stop people flying. Trade will still continue, although the degree to which it continues is the uncertain bit. But I think that in due course, all of that will get sorted out," Mr Walsh said.

He added that he has a vote in the referendum and that he will be voting for the UK to remain in the EU, but stressed he was speaking in a personal capacity.

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