Brexit fallout and the role of Irish business

February 05, 2021

Dear member, 

Only weeks since the gavel went down on the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), serious issues have emerged accelerating tensions and uncertainty. While the focus in the media remains on EU-UK diplomatic relations, these developments signal the perils that might lie ahead for Irish business and society and emphasise the importance of working with Northern Irish and international stakeholders to create opportunities and optimism for the future.

Since the correction of the European Commission’s proposal to activate Article 16 (safeguard clauses) of the Protocol for Ireland/Northern Ireland, it has subsequently communicated its steadfast commitment to respecting the Protocol in full. All stakeholders must understand that the Protocol is a creative solution to a series of mutually exclusive problems.

It facilitates the UK’s departure from the EU, while at the same time ensuring peace and prosperity on the island of Ireland by protecting the Good Friday Agreement, the integrity of the EU single market, and our shared island economy. It is the agreed solution to meet these non-negotiable objectives and must be supported, advanced, and evolved on a continuous basis. 

The scale of complexity involved for people, business, government, and customs authorities in adjusting to new, radically different norms at short notice without a transition period unfortunately means that this kind of event is not entirely surprising. It does provide an opportunity for us to improve our collective awareness and understanding, discuss the future, and acknowledge the challenges it presents. Ibec is and will continue to take a lead on the role business can play, including through our work with the long-standing Joint Business Council, with the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) in Northern Ireland.

I have raised these very serious concerns and highlighted the major political milestones ahead with Marcus Beyrer, Director General of BusinessEurope as well as Tony Danker who leads the CBI. I have also been in touch with senior officials in the Department of An Taoiseach on this agenda.

We will continue our engagements throughout next week, which will provide an opportunity for business to voice concerns and seek engagement on the future. This will include meetings with the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels and the Commission Task Force for Relations with the UK, as well providing evidence to the Seanad Special Select Committee on the Withdrawal of the UK from the EU.

I would also like to invite you to a special briefing next Monday, February 08, from 13:30 to 15:00, dealing with issues arising from the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement and in particular the impact of the Rules of Origin provisions for UK distribution. You can register to attend this event here.

Please let me know if you have any comments or queries, it’s always good to hear from you.

Best wishes,

Danny McCoy
Ibec CEO