Lord Mayor of Dublin condemns IBEC attempt to use Brexit to attack workers

05 August 2016

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Brendan Carr, has condemned an attempt by the employers’ umbrella group, IBEC, to use the recent vote by the UK to leave the EU to further its attack on workers in Ireland.

Councillor Carr said: “In its response to Brexit this week, IBEC claimed that the correct approach for the Government is to consider driving down workers’ wages and reducing the ability of the State to fund our already overwhelmed social supports. From its approach it is clear that IBEC does not care about ripping apart the already strained fabric of our society.

“Recently, I met with a family where both parents were working but due to the insufficient nature of their earnings, and the extent of the housing crisis, they were forced to live in emergency accommodation. These are people willing to work every hour they can but still find it impossible to secure a stable home for their children.”

He added: “Of course the IBEC response to Brexit uses weasel words such as a need to overcome ‘competitiveness issues’ relating to labour costs and the minimum wage to hide what is really a call for attacking the livelihoods of working people. It also calls for increased ‘tax competiveness’, which for IBEC is merely short hand for tax cutting. 

“That IBEC has made such a kneejerk attempt to exploit what is a difficult political and economic issue to further its failed agenda of attempting to undermine the benefits of our economic recovery for workers, particularly those on low pay, is to be regretted. This attempt to only focus on the negatives of Brexit for Ireland stands in stark contrast to the attitude of the business leaders I met with last week at an event, which was jointly convened by my office and the British Irish Chamber of Commerce.

“At this meeting, which included representatives of estate agents, exporters, other leading companies and State agencies, there was a general belief that the Brexit vote presented real opportunities for businesses in Ireland, in particular Dublin, as well as challenges.”

He added: “It is important that businesses seek to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the continued stability of the Irish economic and political situation due to our long term commitment to the EU. In the research IBEC produced to back up its claims, it highlights that less than one in ten of the businesses it surveyed have Brexit contingency plans in place. 

“Perhaps IBEC would be better served working with its members to ensure they are prepared to take advantage of the opportunities resulting from the UK’s changing relationship with the EU rather than merely launching another attack on workers and the funding of our already strained public services.”

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