Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance Michael McGrath has welcomed the strong performance reported by the IDA today for the first six months of the year but has cautioned that the impact of Brexit on the Irish economy is a massive unknown.

Deputy McGrath stated, “The IDA is undoubtedly one of the State’s finest agencies and continues to perform well in attracting inward investment to Ireland. The fact that total employment in IDA supported companies now stands at 187,000 is further evidence of how important foreign direct investment is to the Irish economy.

“There is no getting away from the fact that managing the fallout from Brexit is going to be the single biggest challenge facing the Irish economy for the next few years at least. The truth is that no one knows what the full impact of Britain’s decision to leave the EU will be for our economic prospects. The fall in the value of sterling has created immediate problems for businesses exporting to the UK, for cross border trade and for the tourism sector.

“On a wider level, the uncertainty surrounding the question of how trade between Ireland the UK will function post-Brexit is a critical issue. The fear is that investment decisions will be put on hold as businesses and investors await the shape of the trade deal that will emerge following negotiations between the EU and the UK. Many economists are predicting that the UK will enter recession. Given the interdependency of the two economies, we would be naïve to think this wouldn’t have a very negative impact on us.

“The IDA needs to be bold and ambitious in its efforts to woo companies from the UK to Ireland. If this requires beefing up resources at the IDA in order that we can have a stronger presence in London and in other cities around the world where large corporations with UK operations are based, then this must be done. It is not possible at this stage to predict the impact of Brexit on sentiment and business confidence, but it is likely to be quite negative. Ireland needs to be on alert for the opportunities Brexit will create and prepared to respond to the undoubted challenges that now arise.”