Brexit Implications for Chamber Members and the Community

This is a summary of the a presentation made last Wednesday by Paddy Malone, at a conference on behalf of Chambers Ireland and Dundalk Chamber. Paddy has also been asked to speak to the Oireachtas committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation next Tuesday as part of Chambers Ireland presentation on Brexit.

Paddy Malone speaking at conference on behalf of Chambers Ireland and Dundalk Chamber

Paddy Malone speaking at conference on behalf of Chambers Ireland and Dundalk Chamber

The exact impact that BREXIT will have is dependent on how the UK will try to define its relationship with the EU and how the EU responds to that.
Dundalk Chamber in our budget submission made a number of possible outcomes and what the Government’s reaction to this should be. These issues need to be addressed as a matter of urgency

  1. Nearly 3,000 commuters cross the border daily in our area and in excess of 20,000 in total. These people have to know how long that journey will take in order to plan school and crèche deliveries and pick-ups plus other commitments
  2. Transport costs, including wages, diesel, (particularly if refrigerated); insurance will all rise forcing business to identify other customers/suppliers.
  3. Retail. At the time of the budget we said we could compete as long as sterling was in the 80’s but not if it crossed 90p. We need specific targeted relief in this area and specifically
    • Central Government to subsidise retail rates for a limited period
    • Finance to be made available for all SME long the border and not just exporting or agri-business
    • Living City Initiative to extend to Dundalk, but to be targeted and amended for Dundalk’s special needs
  4. Peace IV and the projects to be guaranteed funding to 2020 and beyond
  5. Tourism potential of the Mourne Gullion Cooley region to be developed jointly by the relevant agencies on both sides of the border
  6. Education support through Horizon 2020 and other schemes is guaranteed beyond 2020.

The immediate call is for support to the retail sector specifically and the wider SME sector along the border. This could be by way of

  1. Rates subsidy
  2. Loans to the wider SME, not just agribusiness or export companies
  3. Living city initiative for Dundalk or an alternative scheme to re-energise the town centre

I also pointed out that some of the problems caused by BREXIT were not new to us. We have been living with a border for nearly 100 years which has distorted trade, commercial and community life.

What is new is that with the internet it is not just retail along the border but also Cork, Limerick and other places that will feel the impact.