Thursday, October 20, 2016

Ireland and Brexit, 'not as easy as people believe'

Last Monday's meeting in Kildare about the implications of Brexit brought together business owners and advisers from the county to both hear from the political front and voice their own concerns, writes Brian Byrne.

Hosted by the FG deputy for Kildare South, Martin Heydon TD, the meeting was addressed by Minister Simon Coveney and former Fine Gael party leader and EU expert Alan Dukes.

The latter said a 'soft' Brexit is 'imperative' for Ireland, as there is a combined level of trade of €7bn between the two countries.

Minister Coveney spoke of the complexity of the issue with politics, EU direction, and business all intertwined. "He believes we need to stay close to both the UK and the EU as the negotiations get under way to ensure the best deal for Ireland," Deputy Heydon said afterwards, "He stressed that getting a special treatment for Ireland will not be as easy as some people believe."

Maureen Bergin, Retail Director at Kildare Village, said that Kildare businesses needed to work together to keep a sense of value for the UK visitor who has now seen a 20-25pc increase in the cost of their trip to Ireland.

There were also representatives from Kildare IFA and local cereal growers, who highlighted the risks and challenges for Kildare farmers from the current uncertainty. Representatives from both Kildare South and North Chamber business organisations were also at the meeting.

Deputy Heydon noted the additional structures that the Government has put in place to strengthen Ireland's response to Brexit, with a special cabinet committee, a second secretary general in the Department of the Taoiseach, and additional resources to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Pictured are Martin Heydon, Minister Coveney and Alan Dukes.