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Ireland's still attracting companies despite Apple tax scandal as Brexit vote raises need for Europe access

Ireland may be caught in a multi-billion-euro back tax demand from the European Commission, but investors are still knocking on its doors thanks to uncertainty from Brexit, an official said Wednesday.

"We have seen increased activity through all of our offices not just in Dublin or in London but right across the globe, particularly from the financial services sector," said Martin Shanahan, CEO of IDA Ireland, the country's foreign direct investment promotion agency.

The U.K. had in June voted in a referendum to quit the European Union (EU), casting uncertainty over future operations of businesses that service clients across Europe from their UK headquarters.

"A lot of those companies require access to the European market They need assurances, their shareholders need assurances, their clients need assurances that they will be able to access the European market. At the moment, that's not certain for the UK," he told CNBC's "Squawk Box."

Companies were unlikely to await the outcome of long-drawn negotiations between the UK and the EU to make their decisions, he said.


Artur Widak | NurPhoto | Getty Images

"They are going to push their access to the European market beyond doubt at a much earlier stage and Ireland is definitely in the fray for some of that newly mobile investment."

Ireland is appealing against a 13 billion euros ($14.6 billion) back tax demand that the European Commission has imposed on U.S. tech giant Apple.

IDA Ireland's Shanahan said investors were still supportive of the country that is home to 1,200 multinational companies employing 187,000 in high-value industries.

"We don't do tax deals. There is a transparent taxation system which is set down in statute and our revenue services have no discretion as to how they apply it," he said.

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