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Ireland approves more than 50% of companies' Brexit-related applications

The Central Bank of Ireland has cleared more than 50% of the applications it received from 100-plus financial services companies hoping to set up shop or expand in Ireland as a hedge against Brexit, Reuters reported Jan. 31, citing the bank's deputy governor.

The central bank expects to continue processing a "significant number" of applications in the coming weeks, Deputy Governor Ed Sibley said, according to the report.

A central bank report showed that the number of Brexit-related applications it received increased in the second half of 2018 as the March 29 divorce loomed.

Ireland is one of the top choices for global firms looking to shift their operations outside Britain to avoid disruption stemming from Brexit. For instance, Barclays PLC is close to moving €190 billion in assets to Ireland as a no-deal Brexit contingency plan and Bank of America Corp. completing the merger of its U.K. banking entity into Dublin-based Bank of America Merrill Lynch International Designated Activity Co.

The country has gained 4,500 jobs as a direct result of the U.K.'s decision to leave the bloc, according to the Irish foreign investment agency, the newswire reported.