For society and business, complexity builds and gathers momentum

November 13, 2020

The latest Members update from CEO Danny McCoy

Dear member,

We are heading into the last lap of this extraordinary year and the pace is picking up on a raft of fronts.  

Domestic politics continues to be fixated on personality driven controversies including the standoff in the Supreme Court enjoining the Executive arm of the State, a new President for the US, the perennial brinkmanship of Brexit deal-making and EU compromises on CAP and Recovery Fund.  

The National Level 5 Restrictions are moving the key Covid virus metrics towards suppression and the need for their relaxation to provide lead times for the retail and hospitality sectors in the run up to the festive season is an imperative, whilst not squandering the efforts of the last two months. I am very conscious of playing a leading role in the debate on what businesses will be permitted to reopen, with a particular focus on retail and the broader experience economy. 

We now have a very explicit exposition of what the Government’s Covid-19 strategy is. In the spectrum from mitigation to suppression to elimination, the Government has firmly come down on suppression, so that the R0 number can be reduced to 0.5, maintain it there for a number of weeks and then ease some level of restriction.  

Everyone is buoyed with the positive news on vaccine developments and hope of returning to normal, while the airport testing infrastructure investment is also very welcome. However there remains uncertainty on the transportation, efficient roll out and uptake of vaccines and we now know the reality that some of 2021 will still be distorted by this pandemic. I have no doubt the debate on coordination efforts across Europe to eliminate community transmission, with greater use of localised restrictions will ramp up.  Coordination on our shared island is a critical issue for both society and business at this time. 

There is still no clarity on what the weeks ahead will bring on a trade deal between the EU and UK and we continue to work with you to triage the Brexit issues, share insights and influence Government and other stakeholders.  We are also focused on Government and agency readiness, engaging on capacity and system requirements for the disruptive period ahead.  There continues to be many questions unanswered and increasing concerns including the necessary capacity for alternatives to the British land-bridge in the extreme scenario of catastrophic disruption. 

The outcome of the presidential and congressional elections may change the tone and multilateral perspective of US outlook but is unlikely to change in substance dramatically. The more immediate influence of the forthcoming Biden presidency is the Brexit impact on the island of Ireland. The protection of the Good Friday Agreement along with Northern Ireland/Ireland protocol means that the island of Ireland will be central to the three prospective trade deals between the US-EU, EU- UK and UK-US as Northern Ireland will simultaneously be in the EU Single Market and the UK customs area. Article 11 of the Protocol is particularly important for business in a shared island context and will be significant in the coming years. The opportunity every four years for Northern Ireland to determine whether to continue with the withdrawal arrangements will a very important backdrop for business in Ireland in 2025 and is something Ibec will be leading upon for members from next year.   

We engaged with the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and senior Cabinet members on the implementation of the Programme for Government commitments on infrastructure, pensions, the Shared Island and a new form of Social Dialogue.  These are to be addressed through Commissions on Pensions, Tax & Welfare along Shared Island and Social Dialogue within the Department of the Taoiseach. Ibec will be the lead business organisation in these processes and I would encourage you to take every opportunity to engage with us on these important developments in the weeks ahead and to register your attendance at Ibec’s forthcoming Regional Insights series.    

Have a great weekend. 
Danny McCoy