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August 18, 2008

Profession divided over Irish ‘no’ vote

Ireland’s accounting profession has mixed feelings about how the nation’s refusal to accept the EU’s Lisbon Treaty will affect business.

On 12 June this year, the Irish people voted ‘no’ in a referendum to determine whether the nation would ratify the treaty – an agreement intended to create more cohesion and coherence in the operation of the EU.

Ireland’s vote against the treaty means it is unlikely to be ratified in its current form by the EU. This has led to criticism levelled against the Emerald Isle by some European politicians.

Ireland’s business community, including professional services institutes and firms, campaigned in favour of ratifying the treaty. None of the partners speaking with the International Accounting Bulletin believe there will be any short-term impact from the ‘no’ vote on the profession but some were cautious about the longer-term implications.

KPMG Ireland managing partner Terence O’Rourke commented: “We were very clearly disappointed with the ‘no’ vote, but it is not yet clear what the implications of that are.

“I am not sure it is going to influence anything in the short-term, in terms of investment decisions by overseas people, but if you look at the direction of the trend, unless we get this issue solved, I think it may. I would just be nervous that unless we get this sorted out in the medium-term that there may be a negative factor for Ireland, but I wouldn’t be losing sleep about it at the moment.”

Deloitte Ireland managing partner Pat Cullen foresees no short-term impacts from the ‘no’ vote.

“Where it might impact down the road is if it affected Ireland’s attractiveness as a location for investment,” he said. “I don’t see that happening in the short-term and obviously what happens with [the treaty] in the longer-term will determine whether there is any negative [impact] at any point in time.”

PricewaterhouseCoopers Ireland senior partner Ronan Murphy does not believe the vote will have any impact on accounting firms.

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