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Brexit – Still No Clearer

Hope for the Brexit Best

It goes without saying that even those hiding under a rock with no Wi-Fi signal will by now have heard the word ‘Brexit’ by this point, meaning Britain’s highly controversial exit from the European Union. Brexit has proven to be a much more complex issue than it seemed was earlier anticipated and is now an issue fraught with tension and uncertainty for both Britain and our own little island which is often hidden under the safe shadow of its nearest neighbour.

In reports this week it seems that at this point the very notion of Brexit has become a rather messy one, with no parties having a clear understanding of what the final result will actually be. In this environment of uncertainty and as we rely on the UK so heavily for trade routes and business, it has been a cause for much concern in terms of Irish businesses. Terms like ‘Hard Brexit’ and ‘Soft Brexit’ have been thrown around a lot in recent weeks, but what is becoming apparent is that those who voted for Brexit may not be as in control of their destiny as they anticipated and may not have as much power to decide the terms of the departure. The British government continues to attempt to come to an agreement and create a plan which will be beneficial to the majority. As talks continue to fall apart it becomes increasingly clear that Brexit will not affect Britain in isolation, rather it will have a ripple effect across Europe. Even knowing this, it is easy to become tangled in terminology and speculation.

With this atmosphere of fear and uncertainty it came as somewhat of a surprise to hear our own Taoiseach’s assurances that Ireland needn’t be overly concerned as Brexit looms large over Europe. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has made an attempt to quash any lingering Irish fears, stating that Ireland is making contingency plans “in the unlikely event of a no-deal hard Brexit”. This may seem like a very relaxed attitude given the uncertainty surrounding Ireland’s position in this but also points to a new level of prosperity in Irish business and a certainty that we can hold our own in the European Union. There are even some whispers that this could be a very positive move for Irish trade and open us up to more opportunities than were available previously. It has however been suggested that it would be unwise for our Taoiseach to say too much in advance as there is no way of knowing the end result at this time.

This statement also shows a level of commitment to ensuring that no hard borders will spring up between the UK and Ireland which could damage Irish trade. This will be a crucial point of contention in the months ahead. As UK politicians battle to seek an alignment of ideals there is very little we can do on our side rather than take the traditional Irish standpoint of ‘prepare for the worst, hope for the best’.

Should you have any queries or require further information on this or any other business or financial matter please don’t hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA’s new head office, where as always we will be delighted to help.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

 

Data Protection, General Data Protection Regulation, EU, Law, GDPR

As the deluge of GDPR and “we have updated our privacy policy” emails begins to slow down somewhat and the dust settles on these new regulations thundering into our lives, and following on from our recent post, we thought it might be a good time to explore some of the key concepts associated with the new General Data Protection Regulations. In relation to GDPR, what are the rights of the individual and what constitutes a breach?

Two key terms that you will see time and time again in relation to the new regulations are Controller and Processor. Essentially, the organisation is the Controller who is responsible for deciding what data is processed and in what manner. The Controller is also responsible for ensuring compliance. The Processor on the other hand is the employee or individual who acts on the behalf of the Controller, and may generally be the person who deals with personal data on a day to day basis.

The below are the key rights of the individual in relation to their personal data:

  • The Right to be Informed – All individuals should be informed that their data is to be stored.
  • The Right of Access – Individuals should be able to request a viewing of the personal details held on them. The organisation has one month to comply with this request.
  • The Right to Rectification – Individuals are entitled to request changes to data that is incomplete or incorrect. Again, the organisation will have one month to comply.
  • The Right to Erasure – This is not an absolute right, in that it is not a guarantee, but the individual has the right to request all data be wiped on them.
  • The Right to Restrict Processing – The individual can request that processing be put on hold until they can verify accuracy.
  • The Right to Data Portability – The individual has the right to obtain and re-use their data across different devices. The information must be accessible to them.
  • The Right to Object – All individuals have the right to request that the organisation stop processing their data immediately, unless the data is proven to have legitimate contractual or legal basis to be stored and processed.

The issue with living in such a fast paced digital age is that data is always at risk of being breached and with these new regulations, a breach can result in a serious breach of human rights as well as a fine of up to €20m or 4% of annual turnover not to mention a loss of client confidence and damage to company reputation.

Interestingly, in terms of GDPR, access is not the only form of breach. A breach can take the form of an incorrect email or postal address resulting in details being sent to the wrong person, the destruction of personal data without consent, or the ultimate loss of the personal data whether digitally or manually. All changes made to personal data need to be consented to.

It is advisable to appoint a data protection officer for this role who is independent and able to report any incidences to the Board without interference. Should a serious data breach occur, the organisation has 72 hours to report it to the Data Protection Commission, and it is advised that everything be reported, even if there are only suspicions of a breach.

Should you require any help, advice or guidance on any financial or business matters, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at EcovisDCA, where we will be happy to support you in getting your business to the next level.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

GDPR: What does it Mean?

It would be impossible to have missed the impending GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) being implemented recently on 25/05/2018 as we are all flooded with emails regarding personal data and it became almost impossible to do anything without being informed of a changed privacy policy. This is all good news however as the GDPR will now mean that there are more strict standards across the board and create a new level of trust across a single digital economy. With these new standards and requirements now in place, there will be no grace period for companies to be eased in to the new standards due to the fact that the announcement was made in April 2016.We have briefly spoken about the GDPR before it came into effect and thought that today we would talk about some of the main changes and actions to be taken going forward.

The GDPR contains a much broader definition of what constitutes personal data than that which exists in the Irish Constitution. Now, personal data will be defined as any information relating to an identified or identifiable living person. For example, online identifiers now constitute personal data. The new rules will apply to both automated personal data and manual filing systems. The advice here is to encrypt all personal data to a good standard as even anonymous data can be included depending on the ease with which the data can be accessed and combined with other identifiers. All personal data which is stored will now need to be done only after confirming consent of the individual. Consent must be freely given, verifiable and confirmed through affirmative action. A pre-ticked box on a website will not legally constitute consent. The only situations in which it is permissible to share personal data without having consent will be in cases of national interest, or in the case of counselling services for children. A new definition within the GDPR is that of ‘sensitive personal data’. This is data such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, trade union memberships, religious beliefs or medical information. There are stricter rules in place for these forms of data, a higher standard of consent is required here.

Accountability is a key area in which the GDPR differs from previous regulation. Organisations are now required to demonstrate compliance with all GDPR principles. The best course of action is to take precautions to avoid a breach of regulations. When handling personal data take extra care with both standard and sensitive information. When asked to disclose any personal data be vigilant and ensure you identify the authority as legitimate.

Should you require any help, advice or guidance on any financial or business matters, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at EcovisDCA, where we will be happy to support you in getting your business to the next level.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together?

It would be almost impossible to have escaped hearing the word ‘Brexit’ (meaning Britain’s impending exit from the European Union) in recent months as the disbelief at the result of the vote gave way to dismay and concern over what this event could mean for our own shores. There have been many concerns regarding Irish workers working in the UK and commuting home at the weekend and vice versa as well as worries about the possibility of there being more stringent borders in place which could very negatively impact Irish trade.

Recently, it has been reported that these concerns may well be directly addressed before the planned exit. It has been suggested that British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to publish a policy paper on Anglo-Irish relations to suggest that the two countries adopt what is known as a ‘Schengen Area’. This would mean that there would be a unique border between the UK and Ireland allowing for ease of movement and trade, effectively creating their own union. This could be welcome news to many Irish workers in the United Kingdom. The move would allow citizens of both countries to freely work in the other, whilst citizens from other countries in the European Union may require work permits to work in the UK following Brexit. Our own Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has however stated in the past that he does not want to create any form of border, so it remains to be seen how this will be implemented.

It has also been stated that Britain are on track for a ‘hard Brexit’ meaning that there will be no softening of rules or lingering methods of inclusion once they depart and will be seen by the European Union as being a third party outside of EU law and customs. The drawback to this supposed ‘hard Brexit’ is that it does not allow for safeguards to be put in place for businesses reliant on trade with Britain, so the proposed policy could be welcome news to some Irish businesses.

It has been reported that British officials are now eager to get the ball rolling on Brexit negotiations in order to cement plans for the future relationship between the UK and EU member states. Brexit Minister David Davis has stated recently that;

“We need to get on with negotiating the bigger issues around our future partnership to ensure we get a deal that delivers a strong UK and EU.”

It is hoped that whether by this new policy, or through the overall negotiations that an agreement can be put in place that does not isolate Irish businesses or workers.

As always we are available for any advice or guidance you may require on business or finance matters.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

Dublin in the Blue Corner

The now infamous term ‘Brexit’ (meaning Britain’s exit from the European Union for anyone that may have been actively avoiding the news in recent months) is one that has long been met with apprehension and uncertainty from our shores. As a relatively small country we find ourselves somewhat reliant on our larger neighbour for certain amounts of trade and, as such we have been unsure of what this move would mean for Ireland’s continuing recovery as well as our own trade options.

There seems to be good news on the horizon this week however, as it was announced that according to research from Ernst & Young’s London office, Dublin is now the most preferred Brexit location for financial services companies. A move in this direction would be an incredibly positive one for Ireland, with Dublin already being somewhat of tech hub with companies like social media giant Facebook choosing to have their European head office here. This also places Dublin ahead of Europe’s current financial centre, Frankfurt which is a major boost to how Dublin is perceived in the financial sector.

Whilst Dublin may only be slightly ahead of Frankfurt, this is a significant indicator of positive movement following Brexit as the survey included 222 banks and other institutions, showing that Dublin is being considered as a real and viable option for European trading following Britain’s imminent departure from the European Union. It is reported that 19 companies mentioned Dublin as a potential destination they would consider moving operations to following Brexit.

In recent months, Ireland has already won out over our competitor Frankfurt in securing banking giants such as Barclays to our shores. There is of course no commitment attached to these findings, but it is encouraging to know that Ireland is one of the first options to come to mind for financial services companies in these uncertain times.

It is both a time of excitement and uncertainty for Ireland as Brexit approaches and should these companies put their contingency plan into action we may well see some positive changes for our country come as a result of this upheaval.

Should you require any help, guidance or assistance on any business or financial matters please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at EcovisDCA, or pay a visit to our new office where we are now all settled in and ready to be of assistance.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

BREAKING UP IS NEVER EASY – BREXIT

It has been quite a week for British politics and an interesting one for Irish companies trading with Britain. There has been a lot of upheaval and uncertainty underlying businesses in the wake of the shocking ‘Brexit’ result which saw Britain historically vote to leave the European Union with an incredibly close vote of 52% leave to 48% stay. The instant panic saw stock markets begin a struggle which continues to attempt to right themselves during a turbulent couple of weeks, while the value of the pound itself instantly plummeted. We spoke recently about what this event could mean for Ireland, and considering the news of this is unlikely to filter out any time soon, it is a topic we will all be following with interest.

Amidst the panic, as previously discussed there will be some new opportunities for Ireland to harness off the back of this move, and it is also important to bear in mind that although there will be many far reaching consequences, commerce – like Celine Dion’s heart, will go on. Despite the UK accounting for almost half of Irish exports, there may be a silver lining for Irish markets. On the positive side, despite early turbulence, world stock markets have proven rather resilient and have recovered well this week, despite the continuing weakness of Sterling.

The entire Brexit process is sure to be a lengthy one, particularly in the aftermath of David Cameron’s departure, and it will remain to be seen what this may mean for other members of the European Union. On our own end, growth and activity in Ireland’s services sector slowed by 0.5% in June according to Investec’s Purchasing Manager Index, showing a new push towards caution ahead of the Brexit vote.

Whilst the future and coming negotiations between Britain and the EU will be crucial to Irish interests, we will be reliant on the EU side to maintain the best interests of Ireland. This puts us in an interesting position as much of our business is reliant on the UK. It is hoped that in particular, the Common Travel Area agreement that is in place between the UK and Ireland remains in place as new borders would cause chaos for Irish people working in the UK, as well as making our trade routes increasingly difficult.

It will certainly be a long road of uncertainty ahead for Irish and British businesses, but there is still hope on the horizon and whilst business may not resume as normal for all, new pathways will be forged in the wake of Brexit.

As always if you require any guidance, advice or assistance with your own business or financial matters please don’t hesitate to contact us here at DCA Accountants, let us be the one constant for your business in this time of change.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY