Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Brexit Stephen Donnelly TD has slammed the Government over its inaction on supporting Irish businesses prepare for Brexit, with new evidence providing a damning indictment on lack of Government supports.
Donnelly made the comments as the Irish Exporters Association (IEA) described Irish businesses as ‘woefully unprepared for Brexit’. At a meeting of the Budgetary Oversight Committee, the IEA called for increased upskilling of SMEs, increased investment in key infrastructure projects such as broadband and new trade links to overcome the challenges Brexit poses.
Deputy Donnelly said, “Last week I put it to Minister Donohoe in the Dáil that there was a growing gap between what businesses need from Government, and what is being provided. This was strenuously denied by the Minister. However just five days later, the Irish Exporters Association provided a damning assessment of the support being provided by Government to businesses to help them prepare for Bexit.
“The IEA officials said Irish businesses were woefully unprepared for Bexit. They pointed out that broadband coverage is a total embarrassment. They also highlighted that Ireland’s transport infrastructure was so badly in need of investment that goods were being shipped to England just to access an airport that could handle them.
“It was also pointed out that the transport infrastructure in the West of Ireland was particularly weak. None of this is acceptable. And yet the Government seems to believe it’s doing everything it possibly can. This is delusion on a grand scale. It is the self-congratulations of a Government completely removed from the difficulties businesses face every day. It is the result of Fine Gael so obsessed with its own leadership soap opera that it cannot see the real fear being felt, or the opportunities to be grasped.
“As pointed out by the IEA, we must invest heavily to help Irish businesses open up new markets, to trade beyond the UK, to face down the risks of Brexit, and use these risks as the push towards accessing new markets in other countries. And in spite of this, Minister Donohue stated last week that there would be no supplementary budgets for to help businesses prepare for Brexit. This means that the IDA, Enterprise Ireland and Bord Bia combined will receive a total of €4.6m this year to deal with Brexit, the greatest economic threat Ireland has faced in decades. It’s pathetic,” concluded Deputy Donnelly.