The Oireachtas Finance Committee was informed this morning by the Chief Economist at the Department of Finance that the emerging Brexit scenario will reduce Ireland’s economic output by 3.5% over five years, result in 40,000 less people being employed, increase the national debt by €20 billion and reduce exports to the UK by a third.

 

These estimates were provided by the Department’s Chief Economist John McCarthy under questioning by the Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance Michael McGrath who asked the Department to provide an assessment of the economic impact on Ireland of the Brexit scenario emerging from the speech by British PM Theresa May on Tuesday.

Deputy McGrath commented, “In light of Prime Minister May’s ‘hard Brexit’ speech on Tuesday, this morning’s meeting provided an opportunity to get the up to date assessment of the Department of Finance of the impact of Brexit on our economy.

“While these estimates are based on certain assumptions, the projections put on the record by the Department’s Chief Economist nonetheless underline the extremely serious threat posed to our economy by the ‘hard Brexit’ scenario that is now emerging.

“We now know that the UK will leave the EU Single Market and most likely the Customs Union also. This will have potentially grave consequences for Ireland in terms of exports to the UK, economic growth, employment, our public finances and the national debt. It is also becoming abundantly clear that our own government does not seem to fully grasp the scale of this challenge.

“It is shocking to learn that the Department of Finance’s Brexit unit comprises just four people. The Department of Finance is responsible for shaping our economic strategy and has a central role to play in designing and implementing our response to Brexit.

“In addition, the Secretary General confirmed that his overall staffing complement is about 10% below where it needs to be. This is simply not good enough at a time when we are facing such serious economic challenges,” concluded McGrath.