18 January 2017

Louth Labour Senator Ged Nash says the immediate and unique challenges posed by Brexit for businesses and retailers in the Border Counties need to be taken more seriously by Government.

It follows Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech yesterday outlining the UK’s plans for leaving the EU, which look set to include controls on the border between North and South.

Senator Nash said:

“The Border Counties are in a unique position when it comes to Brexit, and businesses and retailers are understandably concerned about the new challenges coming down stream when Britain leaves the EU. This was reinforced yesterday when Prime Minister May indicated that some form of border controls are on the cards- despite her stated intention for them to be as ‘frictionless as possible’.

“Businesses in the border area, many that rely on Northern hinterland for trade, are used to operating in a situation where currency fluctuations are a fact of life. In this case, the winners and losers alternate.

“However, facing a situation where long term devaluation of Sterling is likely to be a semi-permanent feature of the landscape, it is clear that a long term strategy needs to be developed by Government with business to counter the effects.

“The Minister for Jobs should assign a special status and dedicated funding to the Action Plan for Jobs for the Border region, reflecting the unique challenges now facing the region.

“The Plan, which we published just over a year ago, needs immediate updating, and additional resources and personnel should be provided on the ground to Enterprise Ireland to support exporting firms to diversify and to the Border Counties LEOs, to work with small businesses and retailers who are rightly anxious about the future.”

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