Gilmore speaks of aim to develop Ireland’s involvement in Islamic finance

Gilmore speaks of aim to develop Ireland’s involvement in Islamic finance

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore addressed a seminar this morning on the Government’s aim to make Ireland a European hub for Islamic finance.

“Internationally Islamic finance, or Sharia compliant finance, has demonstrated impressive growth rates – annual growth rates have been estimated at 15 -20pc,” he said. “The global Islamic finance industry is currently valued at approximately US$1.3trn.

“We see potential for significant growth in this area and it forms an important part of our strategy for international financial services in Ireland,” he said. “We are determined to ensure that the IFSC will develop as a centre of excellence for Islamic finance and are engaging with key stakeholders to move towards achieving this goal.”

He told the International Fiscal Association Ireland seminar that Ireland is currently the location for an estimated 20pc of Sharia compliant funds domiciled outside the Middle East.

“PwC have reported that there are €2.5bn of serviced Sharia compliant funds in Ireland,” he said. “In addition, a number of Shari’ah compliant funds have chosen to list on the Irish Stock Exchange.

“The next step will be to expand the range of products that we provide in Ireland, particularly in terms of banking products.

“We have to think of Ireland, in the words of President Clinton, not just as a gateway to Europe, but as a gateway to the world,” he said. “It is in that context, that I see the role of Islamic finance in Ireland.”

The Tánaiste also spoke about why Ireland is a good fit for Islamic finance activities, noting the existing successful international financial services sector; the education and training opportunities available for people interested in this area, including the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants’ diploma in Islamic finance; the fact that Islamic finance links well with sectors where Ireland is already successful, like aircraft financing; our double taxation treaties with a number of Islamic states, including recently with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and the UAE; and, the adaption “of  our tax system and financial regulatory system to ensure a level playing field between Islamic finance and conventional measures”.

Grainne Rothery