Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, today met with the Ibec North West Regional Executive (REC) in Letterkenny and reaffirmed the need to avoid a hard border and safeguard the functioning of the all-island economy in Brexit negotiations. Ibec said that the UK remaining in a customs union with the EU after Brexit would go some way towards resolving the border issue and minimising new trade barriers.
The meeting follows the publication of a new Ibec Brexit impact survey (see attached), which highlights key concerns facing Irish business. When asked about the effect of Brexit on trade between the Republic and Northern Ireland, three out of five (60%) respondents highlighted concern at the potential impact of increased custom and certification procedures on their business. Other issues of importance included the possible risk to stability through undermining of the Good Friday Agreement (44%), the possible risk to all-island supply chain (43%), and increased competition from companies based in Great Britain (40%).
Ibec North West Regional Director, Terry McNamara said: “The success of the all-island economy has led to a diverse, varied and successful ‘all island business model’ whose core benefits underpin the successful operations of thousands of large companies and SMEs across the island. Many thousands of jobs have been created and hundreds of firms have benefited from the opportunities presented by the all island economy. It is vital these are protected into the future.
“Business is actively working to support an outcome that delivers close EU-UK alignment into the future, but major obstacles exist. The type of EU-UK free trade agreement that currently seems likely would amount to a significant deterioration of the current economic relationship and would come with a heavy economic cost. It is crucial that a deal guaranteeing no hard border with Northern Ireland is significantly advanced over the coming weeks. Political commitments must now be given full legal force.”
The meeting also outlined the significant opportunities being presented to the region by Project Ireland 2040. Cormac Kearns, Director of Global Door Components Masonite and Ibec North West Regional President said: “For some time now, Ibec has identified a lack of investment in the economy as a major constraint to progress. The €116bn 10-year investment plan, which will see capital spending exceed 4% of economic output, is visionary and comprehensive.
“We have an opportunity now to position the North West as the location of choice, which can develop further into a sustainable place for people to work and live. Project Ireland 2040 can unlock the region’s growth potential and allow it to expand and grow in a sustainable way. It is a significant step towards overcoming the challenges of peripherality and poor access that the North West endures at present.”
- Ibec Brexit Report 2018.pdf - 464 Kbytes