Can the creative industries help Ireland in post-Brexit world?

Ireland's strong track record could prove to be invaluable

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Previously unreleased photo of a view of the Skelligs as seven tonnes of material were airlifted to Skellig Michael for essential renovation works on the UNESCO World Heritage Site | Image: Brian Lawless / PA Archive/Press Association Images

As Ireland looks to prepare itself for the fallout of the shock of Brexit to the world economy, various industries are planning their path forward in some uncharted waters.

Bernie Cullinan, CEO of Pragma Advisory and a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, believes that there could be a special role for the creative industries as the full impact of the United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union continues to unfold.

Pragma, which provides strategic planning to companies nationally and internationally, works with firms in a number of sectors including software, the creative industries, professional services organisations, Government, manufacturing, construction, sport and the Not for Profit sector.

Of all the key areas that will look to navigate the challenging times ahead, Cullinan sees the creative industries as offering key opportunities and playing a pivotal role for Ireland in the post-Brexit era.

Creative Europe funding for the sector is set to top €1.4 billion by 2020 but the Irish Government’s funding for the sector needs to be substantially increased, given severe cuts during the recession. This is an industry where there is a substantial multiplier effect, and the Government gets very good value from its investment in the sector.

From award-winning animation studios to huge Hollywood blockbusters filming in the country, Ireland is seeing growth already, but it could be set to grow to an even greater degree as firms start to look outside of the UK.

"The film industry is a great example," Cullinan says. "The tax structure is now very favourable and, after some teething problems in implementation, it is attracting a lot of international interest from companies in this industry.

"Ireland has a robust intellectual property management framework. The impact of Brexit means that the UK runs the risk of lacking the certainty around the management of intellectual property rights, which are long-term assets and therefore need long-term visibility of the legal position.

"Already, Ireland is seeing an uptake in international productions coming here for both these reasons. We have a great studio infrastructure, including the newly launched Troy Studios in the former Dell plant in Limerick. The sheer size of those studios, along with those other factors already mentioned, makes Ireland a very attractive proposition for large budget productions," Cullinan added.

While the creative industries look in a good position, Cullinan says that there are real threats to Ireland's status as a great place to invest, such as the fall in funding for education and the lifestyle the country can offer.

"The funding issue is key, and that needs to be addressed alongside quality of life issues that affect employees from housing to transport and personal taxation. FDIs determine where they locate based on an ability to attract and retain high-calibre employees, and quality of lifestyle is a major consideration for them."

Image: Creative Minds Ireland Launch. Pictured (LtoR) Minister for the Arts , Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphries TD, Minister for Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe TD and An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD at the launch of the Creative Minds Ireland in the National Gallery in Dublin.

"In terms of research, particularly in areas such as cancer, auto immune diseases, nano technology as well as innovation in medical devices, Ireland is to the fore with a world class reputation and facilities.

"This is an enormous asset that we must continue to invest in – it provides Ireland with a very strong platform to create new indigenous companies that can play on the world stage as well as anchoring FDI companies here to remain involved in the research ecosystem. It is notable that, following the Brexit vote, many UK scientists are looking to locate in Ireland in particular, to access EU research funding."

Anatomy is an apt phrase to use for the self-described frustrated scientist, who works with newly formed and more established businesses to bring them to the next level whilst also providing intervention for businesses on "life support".

"I developed an interest in business from an early age, coming from a business family," said Cullinan, "so the natural next step after the BComm degree was to go into management accounting. I like to work from the inside out on the anatomy of businesses."

An advocate of lifelong learning, Cullinan has great admiration for the DCU model, which provides access for all to education. Her own personal mantra is to learn something new every day, and she pinpoints that the CIMA qualification which has underpinned her career is an invaluable stepping stone as the world continues to adapt and change in the coming years.

"CIMA gives phenomenal flexibility to get by in any country. It provides for breadth of education across the business not just in technical accounts and is very connected into the requirements as business becomes increasingly data driven."

Anyone can study CIMA, whether you’re a school leaver, graduate or working professional. For a career that makes a difference and takes you places, visit to find out more about information evenings in your area.

Bernie Cullinan is a non-executive director of Crest Solutions Ltd., deputy Chair of Science Foundation Ireland, a member of the DCU Educational Trust and is a former President of CIMA. She is also non-executive director of NGO Benefacts, which provides free access to information on Ireland’s non-profit sector.