Fianna Fáil General Election candidate Cllr. Cathal Crowe is hosting a public meeting on the impact of Brexit on the Mid-West region next week.  Guest speakers on the night include Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Employment Affairs & Social Protection Willie O’Dea TD, former Minister and TD for Clare Tony Killeen and Chairman of Clare ICMSA Martin McMahon.

The meeting will take place in the Oakwood Hotel in Shannon next Monday evening (25th March) at 7pm.

Cllr. Crowe commented, “As we edge closer to Brexit Day, farmers, small businesses, hauliers and exporters in Clare are expressing huge frustration as uncertainty over planning and supports hangs in the air.

“While every effort is being made to avoid a no deal Brexit, the possibility of the UK exiting without an agreement cannot be ruled out.  This is a cause of great concern, not only for businesses, but to everyone who has recognised and benefitted from peace on this island.

“Brexit, no matter whether it is a deal or no deal, will have a huge impact on the economy in the Mid-West. Hundreds of beef farmers are facing very uncertain times as the UK is Ireland’s largest export destination for beef.  In fact, almost half of all beef exports are to the UK. The tariffs outlined by the UK last week would decimate the industry.  We are still waiting for government supports for farmers and small businesses – promised over a year ago – to be implemented.

“A €25 million allocation for a Brexit loan scheme for farmers and fishermen announced in Budget 2018 (October 2017) has still not been opened, and despite repeatedly asking government about specific details on its no deal scenario planning, the government is continuing to withhold information.

“The haulage industry still has no clarity on the situation regarding non-Irish drivers needing to cross the landbridge. This will affect time-sensitive and
perishable products.  The re-introduction of customs or border controls will increase transit times and place an additional financial burden on Irish importers and exporters, impacting on the competitiveness.

“There are also serious issues with aviation – while UK planes will be able to fly in and out of the EU, they will not be able to fly between member states
leaving airlines such as Aer Lingus and Ryanair very exposed.  This in turn poses problems for Shannon airport and steps must be taken to increase connectivity to hubs in continental Europe.

“Fianna Fáil supports an extension of Article 50 in order to avoid a no deal Brexit.  I am urging the government here to step up its preparations for the possibility of the UK exiting without a deal and to be more open and transparent about the current level of preparedness to allow businesses and farmers better plan for the future”, concluded Cllr. Crowe.