Labour calls for Brexit Jobs Fund

27 February 2019

Speaking in response to debate on the Withdrawal of the UK from the EU Bill 2019, Labour Party Leader and spokesperson on Brexit, Brendan Howlin TD, called on Fine Gael to publish the amount of EU financial support that will be available to support vulnerable Irish jobs, and to establish a new Brexit Jobs Fund to support businesses and employment in the event of a hard Brexit on 29th March.

Deputy Howlin said:

“In the worst of times, Labour in Government created a €400 million+ Jobs Fund as a way to boost employment and to protect vulnerable jobs. We now need to create a Brexit Jobs Fund to save as many jobs as possible if there is a sudden shock to the economy from the UK leaving the EU.

“The EU has indicated that money will be available to support Ireland’s vulnerable industries. The Government should now tell us how much money will be available.

“It is not good enough for the Government to wait and see if Brexit is postponed, or to wait to see what businesses and jobs will be worst affected by Brexit. We know what sectors of the economy are most exposed to trade with the UK or to a drop in the value of the British Pound. We should have real contingency plans in place so that we can preserve jobs and stabilise businesses from Day 1, if Brexit happens on 30th March.

“If any legislation or a supplementary Budget might be required to deploy support for jobs, the Government should seek to ensure sufficient parliamentary time is available for these measures in advance of 29th March. Such measures are conspicuously absent from the UK Withdrawal Bill that the Dáil is currently debating.

“While Fine Gael may be unwilling to specify the nature of supports to industry at this stage, the Government should still ensure that all the necessary preparations are in place so that there are no legal impediments to providing emergency funds to preserve jobs if the UK does leave the EU without a deal on 29th March.

“We need clarity on the amount and nature of European supports that we can depend on.”

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