Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Business, Enterprise and Innovation Robert Troy has said that the Government needs to escalate its Brexit awareness raising campaign to ensure small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can avail of all the supports and guidance available before October 31st.

He explained, “The Government has published their updated Brexit contingency plan and it is apparent that significantly more work needs to be done if Ireland is to be prepared in terms of business and trade.

“Fianna Fáil has consistently pushed the Government to step up their contingency plans, in fact we have been criticised by Government for continuously seeking specific details on planning and the supports that will be available in the event of a no deal Brexit. Yet there is still a lack of clarity in that regard, even though the Government have set out a worst-case scenario.

“The Government’s Summer Economic Statement underscores the disruption that a no deal Brexit will bring. In an orderly Brexit scenario Ireland is projected to run a general Government surplus of 0.4% of GDP in 2020.  However, in a no deal scenario this would deteriorate to a deficit of between 0.5% to 1.5%.

“In money terms this could represent a reduction of €6.5 billion and an increase in unemployment in the region of 50-55,000. If we look out to 2024 a no deal Brexit would worsen the budgetary position by nearly €30 billion. These figures are stark, and they demonstrate the importance of achieving an orderly Brexit.

“Revenue have identified over 90,000 businesses which traded with the UK in 2018. Yet, it is very worrying that four months out form the October 31st deadline, just 531 businesses have participated in the Brexit preparedness one-day workshops, run in all counties by Local Enterprise Offices.

“Open to businesses of all sizes, these customs workshops educate businesses on the potential impacts and procedures they will need to adopt when trading with a third country outside the Single Market and Custom Unions. The workshops cover vitally important areas such as tariffs, export and import procedures.

“Businesses need to engage and prepare themselves. Given the very low uptake, I would call on Minister Humphreys to immediately launch a national awareness campaign to increase uptake in these workshops”, he concluded.