However, the U.K. is crucial as an export market to Ireland's SME sector, noted Kehoe. "In addition, we have a shared border which has given us a complicated and difficult history with our nearest neighbors," he said, referencing the decades-long violent conflict, known as "The Troubles," that centered around the status of Northern Ireland, Irish unity and the country's Protestant-Catholic divide.
"Brexit presents an enormous political and cultural challenge for the U.K. and Ireland," Kehoe said. "We have shared a common travel area with the U.K. since the foundation of the state. These challenges and the economic risks to our SME sector in particular, far outweigh any potential gains in financial services jobs that may come our way."
In the meantime, Ireland's politics face a rocky road ahead. Main opposition party Fianna Fail on Friday tabled a motion of no confidence in Deputy Prime Minister Frances Fitzgerald, leader of the Fine Gael party, which leads a minority government. The government now faces the possibility of collapse, which would force a snap election in December and plunge Ireland into uncertainty.
The traditionally Catholic republic recently experienced new breakthroughs beyond just economic. Prime Minister Leo Varadkar of Fine Gael, who entered office in June 2017 at age 38, is the youngest person to hold the office. He is also is the first government minister of Indian descent, and the first to be openly gay.