Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin TD will address a Brexit breakfast briefing organised by Kilkenny Fianna Fáil next month. The meeting with discuss the challenges Ireland faces as a result of Brexit and will hear from independent economist Colm McCarthy on the decisions that need to be taken to protect Ireland’s interests as the EU negotiations intensify in the weeks ahead.

Fianna Fáil TD’s for Kilkenny Bobby Aylward and John McGuinness will also be in attendance.

Deputy Martin said, “Brexit is the single biggest challenge facing our country. The ESRI have highlighted that without major intervention Brexit will involve significant and sustained reduction in economic activity, employment and Government revenue. This could have a knock on-effect on public services and State supports should the Government fail to take decisive action to protect Ireland from the fallout associated with Brexit.

“Ireland stands to be disproportionately affected by Brexit as compared to all other EU countries. The focus of the Irish Government during the upcoming negotiations must be on preventing the occurrence of a ‘hard Brexit’. Such a situation would lead to a sudden economic shock which would be felt right across Irish society. The Department of Finance has pointed out that a ‘hard Brexit’ would result in a significant reduction in national wealth, a 30% decline in exports to the UK, a rise in unemployment and 40,000 fewer people in work after 10 years.

“The purpose of our Brexit briefing is to give local businesses and community groups the opportunity to have their concerns heard as Ireland prepares for the Brexit negotiations. The briefing will focus on discussing significant issues such as the impact of trade regulations, customs duties, and currency volatility. The briefing will also discuss the disruption that would be caused by a ‘hard border’ in Northern Ireland and its subsequent impact on supply chains.

“Fianna Fáil has been proactive in highlighting the challenges posed by Brexit and the decisions that need to be taken to protect businesses, small farmers and community groups. This briefing is a great opportunity to discuss both Fianna Fáil’s position and the position of an independent economist, Colm McCarthy. It will help us to inform the communities in Kilkenny that Fianna Fáil is determined to face Brexit face on.”