…public meeting in Ballinlough told
Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Brexit, Lisa Chambers TD, has warned that a ‘hard’ Brexit could cost Ireland 20,000 jobs, with 12,500 of those in the agri-food sector. Deputy Chambers was the special guest at a public meeting which was held in Campbell’s of Ballinlough on Monday evening. The meeting was organised by FF TD for Roscommon/Galway Eugene Murphy.
Deputy Chambers warned that the ‘backstop’ in relation to Ireland had been “massively oversold”, and she noted that the public had been told this was “rock solid”, even though “nothing was agreed until everything was agreed”.
Deputy Chambers warned that a hard Brexit would mean that Ireland revert to WTO rules for trade with the UK which will effectively be a third country, and under that pretext, the Copenhagan Economics Report had estimated that our GDP would drop by 7% with an €18bn loss to the economy, exports down by 7.7%, and wages down by 8.7% below the 2030 non-Brexit baseline.
“Our beef exports would be down by 33% and dairy down 40% if we fall back on the WTO,” warned Deputy Chambers.
Deputy Eugene Murphy noted that Brexit is one of the biggest challenges that this State has ever faced and he said numerous reports have indicated that a ‘hard’ Brexit will have profound negative implications for Ireland.
“The UK is traditionally our largest trading partner and our countries trade approximately €1.2 billion in goods and services on a weekly basis. Whilst all countries stand to be affected by Brexit, Ireland stands to be disproportionally affected, more so than any other EU member State.
“Brexit poses major risks to farmers, exporters and agri-food jobs as 37% of all Irish food exports are exported to the UK, with half of our beef exports and one quarter of our dairy exports going to the UK.
“With almost 80% of its employment outside Dublin, the sector supports 270,000 jobs in rural communities and this is particularly true in the Roscommon/Galway area,” said Deputy Murphy.
Deputy Chambers also told the meeting that there were several supports available to businesses including a ‘Be Prepared’ grant from Enterprise Ireland of up to €5,000 to purchase external advice and research as well as a Brexit SME scorecard from Enterprise Ireland, which allows businesses to self-assess their exposure to Brexit. Intertrade Ireland also has a Brexit Readiness Voucher for SMEs with less than 50 employees which offers 100% financial support to purchase Brexit advice up to €2,000 while there is also the Brexit Loan Scheme which offers a three-year finance period.
John Doherty issued a word of thanks to everyone for attending the informative meeting which he said had proved very useful.