Minister Mitchell O’Connor must convince business community that she has plan to defend economy against Brexit – Collins

Published on: 08 October 2016

Fianna Fáil Jobs and Enterprise Spokesperson Niall Collins T.D has written to Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor requesting she urgently attends the next meeting of the Joint Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation to outline her department’s Brexit “action plan”.

“There is no doubt that the decision of the British people in June to support an exit from the European Union represents one of the biggest threats to Irish exports and jobs since the foundation of the State,” said Collins.

“From the moment the result was announced, it has led to a significant weakening of Sterling against the Euro. This week a major tipping point was crossed as the pound weakened to 90p against the Euro.”

“Experts from both sides of the Irish Sea are now predicting that parity between Sterling and the Euro is now only a matter of when, and not if.”

“Frighteningly, a recent report by IBEC showed that for every 1% fall in the value of sterling, there is a parallel 0.7% drop in Irish agri-food exports”

“Shockingly, the analysis shows that the Euro climbing to 90p translates into a €700m drop in Irish exports and potential job losses of 7,500

“Sadly, the first wave of Brexit job losses have already begin with producers in the horticulture sector ceasing production, and laying off workers, as a direct consequence of the fall in Sterling.”

“Across the entire economy, Irish businesses need predictability, and stability. The Euro’s rapid rise in value against sterling recently is reflective of the growing uncertainty in the economy.”

“Our exporters are seeing their competitiveness damaged, and reduced. Those selling into the UK economy are feeling the brunt, and are unable to compete with UK based firms who aren’t hampered the fall in sterling,” added Collins.

“The time for a wait and see approach has long since gone. We need an urgent cross-departmental policy response. Minister Mitchell O’Connor, as the lead minister with responsibility for Trade Policy must step up to the mark, and show the Irish business community that she has a plan.

“The Minister must urgently address Oireachtas members on all steps being taken to safeguard Irish jobs and exports to the UK. Minister Mitchell O’Connor needs to come before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and convince us that she is up to the task of protecting our fragile economy,” concluded Collins.

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