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Ireland

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The plethora of tower cranes now evident in Dublin city centre stand testament to the fact that Ireland’s frozen economy appears to have thawed. While the real estate sector had been characterised by insolvency and fixed-charge receivership work, there has been a recent shift to investment, development and finance-related work. In Dublin itself, this has taken the form of a large number of commercial office developments. The hotel and student accommodation sectors have also been busy, and there is a pressing need to address the shortage of housing, with a number of funds (particularly those that purchased distressed loan books) now bringing projects to site. Various alternative lenders have entered the market, including private equity funds, due to the increase in demand for development financing.

Further evidence of the country’s economic turnaround was provided by the Irish government’s €3bn IPO of Allied Irish Banks (AIB), whose collapse in the noughties helped push the country to an international bailout. Meanwhile, in the corporate and M&A space, activity remained strong, although down on the previous year, reflecting global trends and the uncertainty that followed the Brexit decision.

FIRMS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

O'Connor Solicitors

O’Connor Solicitors is an established commercial and regulatory law firm which has provided advice to commercial entities and statutory bodies, together with religious, educational and healthcare charities.

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FIRMS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Flynn O'Driscoll

Flynn O’Driscoll is a business law firm focused on achieving practical business solutions for its clients. It was founded by Pat Flynn in 2002 who was joined shortly thereafter by Alan O’Driscoll. Since its formation, its main areas of practice have been corporate and commercial advice, corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions and aviation and asset finance. The firm has grown in size year on year to its current staff level of seven partners and a total of 37 lawyers.

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Ireland’s low tax regime makes the country a favourable location for the creation and operation of investment funds, and this showed no sign of abating in 2017 with law firms noting a continued increase in appetite for infrastructure, private equity, real estate, credit and loan funds. Notwithstanding, the Department of Finance has somewhat dampened the climate with its announcement of more stringent tax rules which will apply to certain section 110 companies which hold debt interests secured on, or deriving most of their value from, Irish real estate. The corporate tax regime is also a factor in the country’s position as a leading global hub for the aircraft leasing industry, with more than 50 per cent of the world’s leased aircraft owned and managed from Ireland and 14 of the top 15 global lessors having operations there.

Ireland’s recent run-in with the European Commission over matters such as state aid and the transfer of data from Europe to the US continues to generate significant legal work. Major litigation looms following the EU’s decision to take Ireland to court over its failure to recover up to €13bn in illegal state aid from Apple; while in the Irish High Court there has been a recent decision to refer the use by media companies of standard contractual clauses to facilitate the transfer of data, to the European Court of Justice.

Although the current uncertainty surrounding the nature of Brexit has generally slowed the move of UK businesses to Ireland, the legal sector itself is proving more decisive in its Brexit response; the launch by Pinsent Masons LLP of a new office in Dublin heralds a number of similar arrivals, with Simmons & Simmons the latest to announce its intention to open an office in the city. Besides advising on corporate immigration issues, employment lawyers have also reported an increase in the numbers of employees who have invoked the Protected Disclosures Act 2014, which affords protections to whistleblowers.

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Legal Developments in Ireland

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  • LANDWELL Bulletin: Managing in a Downturn

    As we are all well aware this is the most turbulent climate for business both nationally and internationally, that any of us have experienced. We have therefore focused this bulletin on areas where we believe we can help you take decisive steps to manage the issues that are required to get through the downturn and be properly prepared for the future.
  • The Companies (Amendment) Act 2009

    The Companies (Amendment) Act, 2009 (the “Act”) was signed into law on 12 July 2009. The Act provides for signifi cant changes to company law compliance and enforcement. It gives increased powers of search and seizure to the Offi ce of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (“ODCE”) and expands disclosure obligations with regard to transactions between a company and its directors (including specifi c changes for licensed banks). The Act also relaxes the requirement that at least one director of an Irish company must be resident in the State.
  • New Rules for Acquiring Transactions in the Financial Sector

    In line with EU-mandated requirements, Ireland has introduced new rules governing acquisitions, in whole or in part, of certain regulated financial institutions.
  • Irish Merger Control: Review of Key Developments in 2008

    A 47% Year-on-Year Drop in the Number of Deals Notified: Reflecting the global decline in merger activity, the number of deals notified to the Competition Authority fell to 38 in 2008, a 47% decrease from 2007, when 72 deals were notified, and a more than 60% decrease from the 2006 peak of 98 notified deals.
  • European Communities (Takeover Bids (Directive 2004/25/EC)) Regulations 2006

    The EU Takeovers Directive (2004/25/EC) (the “Takeovers Directive”) has been transposed into Irish law by the European Communities (Takeover Bids (Directive 2004/25/EC)) Regulations, 2006 (S. I. No. 255 of 2006) (the “Takeovers Regulations”). The stated aim of the Takeovers Directive is to strengthen the Single Market in financial services by facilitating cross-border restructuring and enhancing minority shareholder protection. Many of the provisions of the Directive are already contained in the existing Irish regime for the supervision of takeovers set out in the Irish Takeover Panel Act, 1997 (the “Act”), the Takeover Rules, 2001 (the “Rules”) and the Companies Acts 1963 – 2005, which will continue to apply. The Takeovers Regulations cater for those areas not already dealt with in the existing regime or areas of the regime that needed to be adjusted as a result of the requirements of the Takeovers Directive.
  • Establishing a Retail Fund in Ireland for sale in Japan Fund Structures and Features

    The issuing of securities of offshore funds for public sale into Japan is governed by a combination of the Securities and Exchange Law of Japan (the "SEL") which is enforced by the Japanese Ministry of Finance ("MOF"), the Law Concerning Investment Trust and Investment Company of Japan (the "Investment Funds Law") which is enforced by the Financial Services Agency of Japan ("FSA").Establishing a Retail Fund in Ireland for sale in Japan Fund Structures and Features
  • Equality before the Law

    Employment Equality legislation in Ireland is to be found in the Employment Equality Act 1998 as amended by the Equality Act 2004. This legislation is extremely detailed but in effect makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against a person on the basis of gender, marital status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race, and membership of the traveller community. These are referred to as the “discriminatory grounds”.
  • Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Ireland

    The enforcement of judgments between the EU member states is regulated by the Brussels I Regulation (44/2001, OJL 12/1, 16 January 2001) (“the Regulation”). On the 22nd December 2000, the European Council agreed the Regulation to replace the Brussels Convention on Jurisdiction and Enforcement of Judgments 1968 (“the Brussels Convention”). The purpose of the Regulation was to bring the law contained in the Brussels Convention into the main body of EC Law. The Regulation was implemented in Ireland by Statutory Instrument 52 of 2002, European Communities (Civil and Commercial Judgments) Regulations 2002, which came into force on the 1st March 2002.
  • E-Discovery

    Unlike the United States, which is leading the way in relation to e-discovery and where the disclosure of electronic data has become standard procedure, as of yet there is no standard protocol or practice direction issued in relation to e-discovery in Ireland. Despite this fact, Irish lawyers are beginning to appreciate the invaluable nature of electronic data which can be retrieved and used in commercial litigation.
  • Disclosure Requirements with respect to Company Particulars

    Directive 2003/58/EC amending Directive 68/151/EEC (the “First Disclosure Directive”) became effective on 1st April, 2007 having been transposed into Irish law by the European Communities (Companies) (Amendment) Regulations 2007 (S.I. No. 49 of 2007) (the “Regulations”).

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