Responding to the Taoiseach's key note address on Ireland's place in a changing EU, that took place in the Mansion House Dublin today, Ibec said Ireland must play a central and assertive role in Brexit negotiations, to ensure our interests are forcefully represented and reflected in the final settlement. This will require a collective, national effort, spearheaded by government. Business is firmly focussed on ensuring the best possible outcome, and is actively working at a national, UK and EU level to that end.
Ibec CEO Danny McCoy said: "The combative approach of the UK government to Brexit negotiations must inform the Irish position. A comprehensive free trade agreement with minimal trade barriers is desirable, but fair competition must underpin any new EU-UK relationship. This will require clear ground rules, along with effective arbitration and governance structures to ensure legal certainty and recourse when disputes arise.
"Ibec has long highlighted the competitive threat from the UK's increasingly pro-business tax regime. Recent suggestions by the UK government that it may slash corporation tax and cut regulation post-Brexit crystallise the competitive threat the UK is likely to pose. Ireland needs to respond to these challenges now and ensure we maintain our attractiveness as a place to do business.
"Businesses are moving quickly to manage the competitive pressures of Brexit, but a targeted national response is also required. Government commitments to longer term capital investment and regional planning are welcome. So also is the recognition that a stabilisation and adjustment plan is required for businesses that will be most affected by Brexit, along with wider EU support. Ibec has been actively calling for such measures.
"Ireland and our European partners are well placed to shape the next phase of globalisation. To do this, the EU will need to step up efforts to deliver sustainable growth, support job creation and create the right conditions for infrastructure investment," concluded Mr McCoy.