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An Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D. opens Financial Services Governance, Risk & Compliance Technology Centre (GRCTC) at UCC

Speech of  An Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D. at launch of the Financial Services Governance, Risk & Compliance Technology Centre (GRCTC)

Good morning all and thank you to the President (UCC) and to Professor Ciaran Murphy for his remarks.

I am delighted to be here to officially launch the Financial Services Governance Risk and Compliance Technology Centre, hosted here by UCC. This is being funded by the Government through Enterprise Ireland and the IDA and is an excellent joint initiative by both State Agencies.

I would like to welcome the representatives from multinational companies, Irish Small and Medium Enterprises and the academic researchers.

You are all here today because of your commitment to build a better tomorrow for our country and for your industry.

Since the very beginning, the objective of the Technology Centre initiative has been to keep Ireland at the leading edge of technology and innovation… To bring together the innovative capacity of the research community based across academia.

The Financial Services - Governance, Risk and Compliance Technology Centre is the latest addition to the current network of 15 Technology Centres funded by the Government. 
These centres are a big part of our recovery plan - To rebuild an Irish economy based on enterprise and innovation.

This centre is a hugely important addition because its work goes right to the heart of a vital sector - financial services.

Our internationally traded financial services sector is very important to us. It accounts for over 7% of our GDP and over €2.1 billion tax revenue each year.

In July I appointed Minister of State Simon Harris T.D. with specific responsibility for the IFSC and international banking. He is currently overseeing the development of a new strategy to drive future growth within the sector.

Indeed, the whole area of governance, risk and compliance is a priority in our Action Plan for Jobs, which involves assessing the opportunities for Ireland to become a global hub for compliance and risk management.

Since 2008, US and European financial regulators have introduced and will continue to introduce new rules that radically change the regulatory landscape for the financial services industry.

This rapidly changing regulatory environment has had a significant impact on the work of Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC) departments in regulated financial services companies.

A move towards ‘smart regulation’, underpinned by new approaches to data management and data transparency is now in train, which demands greater global harmonisation and a more consistent approach to the production and interpretation of regulations.

Last Friday when I was in New York I met with some of the leading CEOs on Wall Street where we discussed the challenges and opportunities facing the international financial services industry in the US and in Europe. I believe today one of these new opportunities is being harnessed.

This technology centre is seizing the opportunity to become a world leader in providing the solutions.

You are engaged in truly innovative projects, creating software and technology outputs which industry members will exploit to develop their own new and improved products, processes, tools, applications and services.

Greater global harmonisation and a consistent approach to the production and interpretation of regulations is also good news for regulators.

They will have a more precise measure of systemic risk and therefore be in a better position to identify the early signs of any emerging financial difficulty.

One element in our future as an international financial services destination depends on having a credible, responsible and internationally respected regulatory regime that aligns with international best practice but does not stifle responsible innovation.

And that's the task being undertaken right here, by this Technology Centre. This valuable work will both help to secure the future of financial services in Ireland and also lead directly to new jobs and more exports.

This is the Government’s top priority – to create new jobs and secure economic recovery.

We currently have the fastest growing economy in Europe but with 11% unemployment our goal remains to return to full employment.

A large part of our jobs plan is to improve the tax environment for workers and enterprise.

The recent Budget was the start of a multi year plan to cut the punitive income tax rates for all workers but specifically targeted at low and average income workers.

As a result of the tax cuts announced by Michael Noonan, a single worker on the average wage of €35,000 will get tax cuts of €400 in 2015.

A married couple with two kids earning €55,000 and €50,000 respectively will be over €1,040 better off next year.

A single person on the minimum wage will get a tax cut of €173.

I confirmed during my Budget Speech that the intention of this Government is for the tax rate on middle income families to be lowered further in Budget 2016 - to at most 50%. 
15,000 new jobs will be created above and beyond our existing plans due to the important multi-annual tax reforms announced in Budget 2015.

This is all possible because Ireland is in recovery.

And we need sectors like financial services in partnership with our research community to drive the recovery by establishing Ireland as a centre of excellence in financial services.

I wish you all every success in these endeavours.

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