Fianna Fáil Jobs and Enterprise Spokesperson Dara Calleary says the possibility of a Brexit represents one of the biggest threats to Irish exports and SME jobs.  Only this week, a survey published by the Irish Exporters Association (IEA) found that 60% of its members expected Brexit to have a damaging effect on their businesses.

Deputy Calleary commented, “Fianna Fáil understands that while the decision on Britain’s membership of the EU is matter for its citizens alone to decide, it is in Ireland’s interests for the UK to remain in the Union, and Ireland must play a full role in achieving this.

“Irish exporters are heavily dependent on the UK market, with almost half of all Irish exports to the UK coming from indigenous Irish companies.  A Brexit would present a direct threat to continued jobs in this vitally important sector.

“In a worst case scenario, a British exit from the EU could lead to the introduction of tariffs on trade activity with European states.  The ESRI has estimated that bilateral trade flows between the UK and Ireland could fall by as much as 20%, with some sectors more affected than others.

“Irish businesses need predictability as opposed to uncertainty over the future market situation.  A British exit may not only cause negative economic effect, it would likely lead to a significant weakening of Sterling against the Euro. The Euro’s recent rise of over 10% against sterling is reflective of this uncertainty. This will damage the competitiveness of our exports to the UK and the relative attractiveness of our goods in markets in which we compete with UK firms.

“The possibility of a new border between North and South raises an array of concerns as it would have implications for trade and tourism.  The Irish Government must ensure that steps are taken to safeguard the integrity of the single market and maintain a strong trade link between Ireland and the UK”.