Brexit chal­lenges are out­lined to coun­cil

The Argus - - NEWS - By OLIVIA RYAN

THE im­pact of Brexit on the econ­omy along the bor­der re­gion was out­lined to Louth County Coun­cil at their monthly meet­ing.

A brief­ing by Thomas McEvoy, head of the Louth En­ter­prise Of­fice, high­lighted the po­ten­tial eco­nomic im­pact on busi­nesses across the re­gion.

Mem­bers heard that over 40% of com­pa­nies in the North East ex­port to the UK, with most to North­ern Ire­land.

Mr. McEvoy said the big­gest im­pli­ca­tions of Brexit will be felt within the food sec­tor.

With no trade deal yet agreed be­tween Bri­tain and the Euro­pean Union, he said it was vi­tal that busi­nesses look at where they might be ‘ ex­posed’ in the event of a hard bor­der, and put plans in place to pro­tect their busi­ness.

He said that the ‘worst case sce­nario’ for the bor­der area was a ‘no deal’ sit­u­a­tion, but added that it was widely hoped this would not be the case.

He urged busi­nesses to make con­tact their lo­cal En­ter­prise of­fice, which can pro­vide ad­vice and as­sis­tance on how to pre­pare for Brexit.

He told coun­cil­lors that a lot of the ‘reg­u­la­tory frame­work’ of a Brexit deal was ex­pected to be in place by the end of March.

Speak­ing at the coun­cil meet­ing,Cllr. Ruairi O’Mhurchu said ‘ As much as I agree with pre­par­ing for the worst, I think we need to work at gov­ern­men­tal level to en­sure this doesn’t hap­pen.’

He said there was ‘a lot of concern about Michael Barnier’s re­cent com- ments that there would have to be bor­der posts if the UK is no longer in the Cus­toms Union.

‘So there is a real need to put pres­sure on at gov­ern­men­tal level.’

Cllr. Conor Kee­lan said it was ‘alarm­ing the num­ber of busi­nesses which are not Brexit ready.’

Cllr. Mark Dearey sug­gested that coun­cil­lors ‘cre­ate a bet­ter way of in­ter­fac­ing with Louth MEP’s.’

He added that the Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions have been ‘a chaotic process, which hasn’t been easy for any­one to make clear.’

‘We have done some work on it in Dun­dalk, but I would like to see this on a much wider scale,’ said Cllr. Dearey.

Chair­man, Cllr. Colm Markey agreed, sug­gest­ing that a Brexit work­shop be set up for coun­cil­lors, ‘ where we could de­bate the is­sues at large.’

CEO of Louth County Coun­cil, Joan Martin, told mem­bers that she is set to travel to Brus­sels with other chief ex­ec­u­tives, and will hold meet­ings with a mem­ber of the EU’s Brexit ne­go­ti­at­ing team.

She said it would be an op­por­tu­nity to lobby for the bor­der area.

Cllr. Maria Doyle wel­comed the pre­sen­ta­tion to the coun­cil, ask­ing if Mr. McEvoy could up­date the coun­cil be­fore the sum­mer on on­go­ing de­vel­op­ments.

Thomas McEvoy, Louth LEO Of­fice, with Min­is­ter for For­eign Af­fairs, Si­mon Con­veney at the re­cent Cross Bor­der Brexit Con­fer­ence in the Car­rick­dale Ho­tel.

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