Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith says this Government needs to do more to safeguard jobs in the Border region as a result of Brexit. A new survey from business group IBEC highlights Cavan and Monaghan as being the two counties with the highest exposure to Brexit – with one in five workers employed in vulnerable sectors.

Deputy Brendan Smith explained, “Cavan and Monaghan are home to a substantial number of businesses within the agri-food, construction and engineering sectors – all of which are coming under pressure as a result of Britain’s decision to leave the EU.  Their major export market is the sterling area, so they’re already hit with competitive challenges.  IBEC is warning that unless the Government comes up with a comprehensive plan for Brexit, the risk of job losses in this region will be considerable.

“Last month I invited the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise Frances Fitzgerald to visit the region to meet with local business and industry which are feeling the effects of Brexit.  She needs to fully understand the reality of the situation and see the infrastructural gaps which exist.

“There needs to be a major upgrade of infrastructure in the region – with a particular focus on our roads network.  In the context of the challenge that we face, capital spending for the Border region must be prioritised.  We shouldn’t be waiting until Britain leaves the EU, these upgrades should be undertaken as a matter of priority.

“We are more than a year on from the British referendum result and the March 2019 deadline
is no longer in the distant future.  However, despite promises from the Government that sectoral response plans would be developed by all Departments, no such plans have been published to date.

“The Government needs to wake up to the seriousness of the situation facing people living along the Border.  We need a coherent plan for businesses as well as for those who travel across the border every day – these people’s lives could change dramatically as a result of Brexit and they need piece of mind that their Government is on top of the situation and has a plan to deal with it”.