Source: Oireachtas Report (3)

“The Likely Economic Impact of Brexit with Particular Emphasis on Jobs and Enterprise”

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

The Committee concludes its report with a series of recommendations but frankly some of them would be better described as wishes.  The first one,  for instance, recommends that Ireland argue for transitional arrangements “as close to the status quo as possible”. Britain may not agree.

Next, “it is essential to argue the case for designated special status for Northern Ireland within the European Union. ” Britain will definitely not agree and has said so with considerable force. It wants to keep “discussions constructive and avoid unnecessary disputes between the UK and other Member States”, which would be really nice.

It stands on better ground in recommending that the enterprise agencies (Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and InterTradeIreland) receive extra funding and even that the Government seeks changes in EU fiscal rules to allow for more capital investment.

It recommends the Government seek exemptions to EU state aid rules due to Brexit, a call already made by the sectoral Food & Drinks body within IBEC. Given the sheer extent of likely economic damage in the food area, there may well be a case to make here.

Our own findings in the BBB Frontline study of  enterprises in the border counties lead us to applaud recommendation no. 8: “The Committee recommends that a nationwide campaign be launched to increase awareness surrounding the risks of Brexit to SMEs, both directly and indirectly involved in exporting to the UK and those in vulnerable sectors.” We would only add that there is an urgent, specific  need to provide information on likely tariffs directly to small enterprises

It also wants a system “to track the number of Irish businesses locating at least part of their operations to the UK, to determine what measures can be taken to reduce this.” As previously noted by us, major businesses moving to the Republic make the news, but we are aware of a steady and increasing drift of small Irish manufacturers into the UK. That may well become the next big story.