Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, today welcomed the extension of the Brexit deadline until the end of October, agreed by EU leaders in Brussels, which avoids a catastrophic ‘no deal’ UK exit this week. Business has already spent millions on contingency planning and would have preferred a deal, but that wasn’t politically possible. While the October deadline aims to keep the pressure on the UK, business is also left to manage the rolling, costly uncertainty. A longer extension would have been preferable.
Ibec CEO Danny McCoy said: “While massive uncertainty remains, the right outcome is the most important thing for business. With the risk of an imminent ‘cliff edge’ gone, the UK must now chart a positive way forward. An orderly exit, legal safeguards to protect the Good Friday Agreement and close future EU-UK alignment remains the objective.
“It has been a frustrating and incredibly costly period for business, and there is still no clarity. A ‘no deal’ outcome always lacked credibility, given the senseless damage that would be inflicted on both parties, but business was left with no option but to put in place expensive contingency plans. In many cases, the cost has run into millions.
“Close EU-UK alignment into the future is in our clear and collective economic interests and is a vital means to protect the Peace Process and the all-island economy. Hopefully, the UK position will evolve on this basis. In the meantime, it is vital that the UK works in a positive spirit with the rest of the EU to ensure there is no disruption to the ongoing functioning of EU institutions.”