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Mount Charles to launch new Dublin hub, but denies Brexit link

Trevor Annon

The boss of Northern Ireland outsourcing firm Mount Charles has denied Brexit has influenced plans to create up to 400 jobs in a new Dublin-based operations hub.

The company which has seen its annual turnover increase by 20% to £40m is seeking to increase the number of staff in the Republic where 15% of its revenue is now generated.

But chairman Trevor Annon said the firm's headquarters will remain in Belfast and insisted Brexit was not the reason for the new office.

"We have known for quite some time that Dublin would be the next key area in our expansion strategy; the decision to create a base there wasn't motivated by Brexit, but rather the potential for growth that we see in that marketplace," he said.

"We're now just over a year down the line from establishing a Dublin base."

The company which aims to more than double its turnover to £100m by 2025 will open the new office within three months.

Staff numbers will be between 10 and 15 initially but the number of employees is set to expand to between 300 to 400 within three years.

The boss of the service provider business said he does not have to consider the same complexities as manufacturers who export.

"No matter what happens, our clients will still require the same services that they require today post-Brexit," he added.

Mount Charles was among a group of NI's biggest firms to sign a letter calling on the Government to avoid "significant job losses" by avoiding a no-deal Brexit.

Other major signatories of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) letter include Bombardier, Coca-Cola and First Trust.

It was issued ahead of Prime Minister Theresa May's attempt to push her Withdrawal Agreement through Parliament today.

Mr Annon said the expansion forms part of its plans to concentrate on the RoI market where trade is expected to surpass current NI levels here and will be the "core focus of our development" over the next three years.

The company's founder expressed concerns about a "mass exodus" of European workers leaving Northern Ireland and blamed Brexit uncertainty and a drop in the value of sterling against the Euro, he told the Sunday Business Post.

But he expressed optimism over the prospect of a last-minute deal.

The firm, which offers a range of services including catering, cleaning and security to 400 clients, has signed deals worth a combined £75m over the last year marking a decade of growth.

They included new contracts with Belfast International Airport, Wrightbus and Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, and several deals south of the border.

Belfast Telegraph