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Brexit risk 'putting multinationals off UK'

By Brian Hutton

Major multinationals are stalling on plans to invest in the UK while eyeing up Ireland in the event of a Brexit, Ireland's Central Bank chief has said.

Professor Philip Lane also blamed mounting fears over the referendum on whether Britain should remain part of the EU for the sliding value of sterling.

Before a parliamentary watchdog in Dublin, the governor of Ireland's Central Bank said he was sure that international companies were holding off on decisions about setting up in the UK until after the vote.

"I have no doubt - it has to be the case (for) any sensible major firm considering where to make a location decision," he added.

"And if the competition is between UK and Ireland... I'm sure any rational firm is going to stall for a few months.

"So, I think the number one issue is delay. It (the referendum)is going to delay decisions about projects."

Speaking to parliamentarians on the Irish parliament's Finance Committee, he added: "I think we are seeing sterling weaken in recent weeks, which is partly (due to) speculation ahead of a Brexit risk.

"Then, what happens after that... whether firms decide to come here instead of the UK, and so on. I think there are a lot of different scenarios. It's hard to make strong predictions."

This week, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that a Brexit would create "serious difficulties" for Northern Ireland.

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