Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Brexit Stephen Donnelly has warned that a disorderly Brexit would have a potentially catastrophic impact on Ireland. He made the comments following a speech by the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier who stated that if the UK decides to leave the customs union and single market, border checks would be unavoidable.
Deputy Donnelly commented, “Even though a transition deal was never a given, Mr. Barnier’s comments, only 13 months out from the Brexit deadline are deeply worrying. The consequence of a disorderly Brexit for Ireland is potentially catastrophic.
“The absence of a deal would cause chaos for Irish businesses – and could prove devastating. Widespread job losses in agriculture, fisheries, textiles, tourism and SMEs trading along the border will become a very real prospect. Any business exporting to the UK will be impacted, and even those transporting goods further afield will be hit as 80% of non-UK goods exports have to travel across the UK to Europe.
“Barnier’s assertion that border controls are inevitable in the event of the UK exiting the customs union could spell disaster for Irish businesses, especially if our Government doesn’t start prioritising contingency planning. I am well aware of the good work being undertaken by officials in certain State agencies, but I don’t believe that a whole of Government response is being fully adopted. In fact, up until a few days ago, the Cabinet Brexit sub-committee hadn’t met since last September.
“Added to this, a sector by sector Brexit plan, which was promised almost a year ago, has still not been published.
“The Government must start making use of every political and diplomatic asset available to them to ensure any possibility of a hard border with the North is eliminated and that the political space is created to find a way through the current impasse and ensure a transition period”.