THE glass office blocks of Dublin’s docklands still stand proud; the banks that built them no longer do. The financial crisis of 2008 took down Ireland’s six biggest lenders. Within five years Dublin slid from being rated by Z/Yen, a London-based business think-tank, as the world’s tenth-best financial centre to its 70th. Britain’s readiness to leave Europe’s single market has since sparked hopes Dublin’s fortunes could be revived. An English-speaking base from which to keep doing business inside the EU may appeal to London’s bankers. But worries are growing that the impact will not be all good for Dublin.

To see why, look at aircraft finance, perhaps the city’s most successful industry. The topic of Brexit dominated the chatter at the world’s two biggest air-finance conferences, both held in Dublin this month. Drawing more than 4,500 airline bigwigs, lessors and bankers, such gatherings are usually preoccupied by issues such as aeroplane prices and the aviation cycle. This year geopolitics predominated. “In Ireland we’re surrounded by Trump to the west and Brexit to the east,” one industry veteran sighed in…Continue reading