Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Brexit Stephen Donnelly TD says the Government needs to ensure businesses are adequately supported in preparing contingency plans for dealing with the Brexit fallout.
Deputy Donnelly made the comments after InterTradeIreland released new information which shows that 19 out of 20 businesses don’t have a plan to deal with Brexit.
The figures were based on interviews conducted with more than 750 SMEs across both Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Deputy Donnelly commented, “These new figures are deeply disturbing and suggest that many businesses are not ready to deal with the challenges associated with Brexit. It is imperative that we launch a national programme of enterprise supports to keep those viable companies up and running.
“Supports must be rolled out for product diversification, currency hedging and accessing new markets. The loan schemes announced so far are welcome, but these must be matched with grants. The IDA and Enterprise Ireland are engaging with their clients, but who is speaking to small Irish exporters? Tens of thousands of companies are at risk, and hundreds of thousands of jobs.
“For almost a full year, I have been calling on the Government to publish sectoral response plans to Brexit. Despite promises made by former Taoiseach Enda Kenny, the silence since then from this Government has been deafening. One in five already know that Brexit will negatively affect their business. The current approach is simply not causing the response that we need to ensure that we avoid the worst of Brexit.
“We badly need supports for cross border trading companies in particular. Almost half have already reported that their businesses have been hit. Some companies have already been wiped out by the fall in value of Sterling. With over 70% of businesses were operating at margins below 10% currency fluctuations have the capacity to destroy exporters.
“The response to date from Government has been that we cannot publish response plans until we know what the deal will look like. This is not good enough. These problems cannot wait to be solved in 2019. If Ireland is to move beyond risk mitigation, and seize the opportunities of Brexit, Irish SME’s must have the supports to allow them to plan now rather than later.”