Brexit challenges are outlined to council
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.