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Taoiseach says Ireland will focus on 'Islamic finance' expansion

Speaking at a conference today in Dublin, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the Central Bank has already “authorised a number of Sharia-compliant funds”.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny delivering his keynote address to the IFIA conference today.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny delivering his keynote address to the IFIA conference today.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has said that the government wants Ireland to expand into the area of Islamic finance, adding that changes in the recent Finance Acts would support the IFSC’s bid to become a “centre of excellence for Islamic finance”.

Kenny was speaking at the Irish Funds Industry Association (IFIA) annual conference at the National Convention Centre in Dublin today.

He said Ireland had already recognised the importance of adapting its taxation system to “ensure a level playing field between Islamic finance and conventional measures”. He also said that Ireland had signed a number of double taxation deals with Islamic states including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and the UAE.

The Central Bank has already authorised a number of Sharia-compliant funds here, Kenny said.

Sharia law prohibits the payment (or acceptance) of interest on loans or overdrafts. Chairman of IFIA Ken Owens told the Guardian that Sharia-compliant funds want to own assets outright, including commodities and property.

He also said there was an international “scramble” for Islamic business and that there is a positive knock-on effect for successful bids: if a particular Islamic institution feels comfortable doing business in a certain jurisdiction, others will follow.

The Taoiseach also said today that the government is interested in expanding its green economy. Although “the Irish economy is facing challenging times”, he said, it is meeting those challenges “head on”.

Read Enda Kenny’s keynote speech to the IFIA conference in full >

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