The head of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde was in Dublin last week and warned that despite Ireland’s “remarkable economic growth” the country should start to prepare itself for international shocks.
She made her comments after a meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Ireland’s Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe.
She said she was pleased to see that – compared to her first visit to Ireland in 2013 – the sun is shining on the Irish economy with much better employment and economic growth. But, she urged, Ireland should set up a rainy day fund for when it isn’t quite so sunny and to better prepare the country for international economic shocks.
She said she would also like to see more women appointed to the boards of banks.
This, of itself, might be enough to prevent future crises, she said. She predicted an influx of financial services firms into Ireland – and to the rest of mainland Europe – after Brexit which would bring with it a requirement to enhance the EU’s regulatory and supervisory capacity ahead of their arrival.
Ms Lagarde was in Dublin to attend a conference to mark 20 years of the EU’s single currency, the euro.
“We meet at a moment when the EU and euro area are in the midst of difficult decisions about their future. Populist movements, from Brexit to the recent Italian elections, have called into question the value of European integration.
“The euro area needs truly integrated financial and capital markets that allow companies to raise financing across borders more easily and support investment.
“In the near-term, it is critical to ensure that regulatory and supervisory capacities are prepared for the influx of financial firms that will move to continental Europe – and Ireland – as a result of Brexit.”