Fianna Fáil Senator Robbie Gallagher says the Government needs to move fast to protect Ireland’s trading relationship with the UK in the aftermath of Britain’s decision to leave the EU.

Senator Gallagher also pointed out that Brexit presents an enormous challenge for border communities, and says the Government needs to put continued cross-border co-operation at the heart of its negotiation strategy.

“We are now four months on since Britain voted to leave the European Union and there is still great uncertainty as to the knock on effect associated with that decision. Farmers have been particularly hit by this uncertainty, and there are fears that Brexit could have a detrimental impact on the strong trading relationship between Ireland and Britain,” said Senator Gallagher.

“The British Government has indicated that it will start the formal process of leaving the EU early next year. Our Government needs to move fast to minimise the disruption caused once this process gets underway. Britain is our nearest neighbour and largest trading partner and it is important that this relationship is maintained post Brexit.

“The biggest barrier to development in border communities is the threat associated with the introduction of a ‘hard border’ between north and south. The Government needs to ensure that this does not come to pass. It would cause severe economic hardship for border communities, and would have a detrimental impact on the agricultural and tourism sectors in particular.

“It is vital that the Government works with our European and UK colleagues to minimise any disruption to border communities. I firmly believe that a new Minister should be appointed to Government with the sole responsibility of dealing with the fallout associated with Brexit. We need to ensure that our strong trading relationship with Britain is maintained,” concluded Senator Gallagher.