Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Brexit Stephen Donnelly TD has said the Government must do more to protect and prepare Irish companies from the destructive impact of Brexit.
Deputy Donnelly made the comments as new research by the ESRI found that Brexit is already impacting on the Irish economy.
The research found that the UK economy is slowing down. It also noted negative investment levels in the food and agricultural sector over the past 18 months.
Deputy Donnelly commented, “The National Competitiveness Council has warned that small exporting firms may not survive Brexit, even a soft Brexit, if actions are not taken to drive competitiveness in Irish businesses. To date, we have not seen the response we need.
“The reality is that Irish firms are not preparing for Brexit. A recent survey conducted by InterTradeIreland has found that 95% of businesses across the island of Ireland don’t have a plan for Brexit. That’s only 2% better than last year’s results. A survey published in May by the Department of Business found that only 3 in 20 SME’s have taken some form of evasive or crucial action.
“The Government has focused exclusively on the diplomatic aspects of Brexit. It is failing to address the needs of Irish businesses on the ground. In response to questions today in the Dáil, the Tánaiste has indicated that no progress has been made in seeking agreement on the relaxation of state aid rules, nor will there be any progress until the final nature of the Brexit deal is known.
“This is not good enough. Regardless of the result of negotiations, Irish businesses need to plan now, they need to prepare now, they need additional grant funding now. They cannot afford to wait for up to a decade.”