— it will change your every­day life

Irish Examiner - - News -

No deal

Taoiseach Leo Varad­kar, Tá­naiste Si­mon Coveney, British prime min­is­ter Theresa May and se­nior EU of­fi­cials have all in­sisted the same guar­an­tees out­lined in any deal will ap­ply even if British crashes out of the EU with­out an agree­ment in place though it may be trick­ier to im­ple­ment in prac­tice. A worst-case sce­nario Brexit risks drag­ging Ire­land back to the dark days of the Trou­bles.

Deal:

Should the ex­ist­ing Brexit deal be ac­cepted by West­min­ster this week, there will be no threat of a hard bor­der and there­fore the po­ten­tial risk of a slow-step re­turn to vi­o­lence in North­ern Ire­land will re­duce dra­mat­i­cally.

In ad­di­tion, the back­stop will be pro­tected, mean­ing the sub­tle po­lit­i­cal nu­ances sur­round­ing iden­tity in North­ern Ire­land can con­tinue to be im­ple­mented.

While calls for a united Ire­land ref­er­en­dum are likely to in­crease, the lack of a hard bor­der or phys­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture on the bor­der means it is highly un­likely vi­o­lence will be sparked.

No deal

This is one of the most se­ri­ous prob­lems posed by Brexit.

Of­fi­cially and even unof­fi­cially, Ir­ish of­fi­cials have in­sisted the Gov­ern­ment is not pre­par­ing in any way for the re­turn of a hard bor­der and the po­ten­tial se­cu­rity risks this will bring.

How­ever, if a hard bor­der is rein­tro­duced, there are gen­uine fears it will lead to a rise in po­ten­tial vi­o­lence in North­ern Ire­land.

And while British po­lice said last week they will send of­fi­cers to the north to help ad­dress any out­breaks of vi­o­lence if this is needed, such a move would in­evitably throw yet more petrol onto the flames. Any Brexit will hit pub­lic fi­nances, but a hard Brexit risks throw­ing us back into a re­ces­sion.

Deal:

There is no get­ting around the facts — Brexit will dam­age the Ir­ish econ­omy.

Even in a best-case sce­nario of the ex­ist­ing EU-UK deal be­ing im­ple­mented, the Ir­ish Fis­cal Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil has warned Ire­land’s GDP will drop by at least 4%, af­fect­ing busi­nesses, jobs and the money in your pocket in equal mea­sure.

Taoiseach Leo Varad­kar and Fi­nance Min­is­ter Paschal Dono­hoe have stressed last Oc­to­ber’s bud­get and the €500m rainy day fund is Brexit-fo­cussed and that the fact Ire­land’s econ­omy is now run­ning a sur­plus will pro­tect us from the com­ing storm - a view dis­puted by the op­po­si­tion.

No deal:

If a 4% dip in the econ­omy fright­ens you, try 8% and a €3.6bn hole in our eco­nomic plans.

Dur­ing the same Oireach­tas fi­nance com­mit­tee meet­ing last Novem­ber where the 4% best case sce­nario sit­u­a­tion was out­lined, the Ir­ish Fis­cal Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil’s of­fi­cial Martina Law­less also said a crash-out no deal will see GDP plum­met by 8%.

An ESRI re­port last month sim­i­larly said a dooms­day Brexit sce­nario could cre­ate a mas­sive €3.6bn hole in Ire­land’s eco­nomic plans which risks sink­ing the coun­try.

While Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin has de­manded an emer­gency bud­get to be con­sid­ered for this spring to cope with any ex­pected fall­out, Taoiseach Leo Varad­kar re­mains in­sis­tent this is not nec­es­sary. Thou­sands of jobs risk be­ing lost from the vi­tal sec­tors.

Deal

While Brexit will af­fect all as­pects of Ir­ish life, the farm­ing and fish­ing in­dus­tries are by far the most vul­ner­a­ble due to long-stand­ing con­nec­tions with the British mar­ket.

Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Michael Creed has said even in a best case sce­nario Brexit deal, thou­sands of jobs could be lost from the sec­tors due in part to tar­iffs on goods be­ing sent to Bri­tain.

While this will be off-set by con­tin­ued “land bridge” ac­cess to con­ti­nen­tal Euro­pean mar­kets through Bri­tain, job losses are ex­pected.

No deal

The no-deal sit­u­a­tion is po­ten­tially dis­as­trous for two of the stal­warts of the Ir­ish econ­omy.

If Bri­tain crashes out of the EU in just two months time with­out a deal, up to 40% of the beef in­dus­try could be at risk be­cause of its ex­port fo­cus on Bri­tain.

Sim­i­larly, Mr Creed said up to 4,000 jobs could be lost in the 10,000-strong fish­ing in­dus­try if Bri­tain claws back com­plete con­trol of its fish­ing wa­ter rights.

While the Gov­ern­ment is seek­ing al­ter­na­tive beef mar­kets to Bri­tain and hopes to find a res­o­lu­tion to the fish­ing cri­sis — with Mr Creed in­di­cat­ing last week a po­ten­tial EU cash in­jec­tion for beef farm­ers may be of­fered — there is no way of ig­nor­ing the se­ri­ous­ness of the sit­u­a­tion. For­get the British lorry con­voy PR ex­er­cise last week — hauliers, ex­porters and im­porters have a Brexit tar­get on their backs.

Deal:

In its 100-plus page Brexit con­tin­gency plan­ning doc­u­ment pub­lished last month, the Gov­ern­ment said a Brexit deal sit­u­a­tion will al­low Ir­ish hauliers to con­tinue to travel through the British “land-bridge” to con­ti­nen­tal Europe.

The land bridge — which is ef­fec­tively just a fast-track drive through Bri­tain — is a cru­cial part of the Ir­ish im­port and ex­port mar­ket.

How­ever, ques­tions have been raised over the im­pact in­creased cus­toms checks will have on the sec­tor, even if ev­ery­thing goes to plan.

No deal

If you tend to lose your cool in a nor­mal traf­fic jam, you may want to look away now.

De­spite the mainly British PR about how a no deal Brexit will not nec­es­sar­ily bring lor­ries and trucks car­ry­ing goods to a grind­ing halt, the Ir­ish Freight As­so­ci­a­tion and the Ir­ish Road Haulage As­so­ci­a­tion have specif­i­cally warned of this ex­act sce­nario.

Among the PR put out in re­cent weeks has been the British gov­ern­ment’s claim that checks on hauliers’ trucks and lor­ries will take less than 40 sec­onds and of­fer lit­tle to no dis­rup­tion.

Frankly, no one be­lieves a word of it, with both Ir­ish or­gan­i­sa­tions ridi­cul­ing the pre­dic­tion as be­ing com­pletely un­re­al­is­tic and their coun­ter­parts in Bri­tain say­ing Theresa May’s PR fo­cussed lorry con­voy test run last Mon­day — de­signed to show how speed­ily trucks will still roll — was point­less as it took place out­side of rush hour traf­fic.

What does this mean for you and ac­cess­ing the goods, and mar­kets, you need?

In sim­ple traf­fic terms, grid­lock, not green light. De­pend­ing on who you ask, the Gov­ern­ment is ei­ther ready to bail out at-risk firms or is sleep­walk­ing into a cri­sis.

Deal:

A Brexit deal will un­doubt­edly im­pact on the econ­omy, with bor­der com­pa­nies, those in the south east who are de­pen­dent on Ross­lare, and agri-food firms in Cork and Kerry flagged by Gov­ern­ment and in­de­pen­dent groups as the most at-risk.

How­ever, the Gov­ern­ment is of the view that an ex­ist­ing Brexit busi­ness pre­pared­ness fund in­volv­ing grants and other sup­ports will be enough to pre­vent ma­jor fall­out in the ma­jor­ity of cases — an is­sue min­is­ters have spent months em­pha­sis­ing to firms.

No deal:

This is where the Gov­ern­ment prom­ises get tricky.

While min­is­ters are at pains to stress the sup­ports and grants which are al­ready avail­able through the Depart­ment of Busi­ness, they will be stretched to the ab­so­lute limit in a worst case sce­nario no-deal Brexit.

Taoiseach Leo Varad­kar told the Dáil last De­cem­ber of­fi­cials have con­tacted the EU about re­lax­ing ex­ist­ing State aid rules, a com­pli­cated way of say­ing they have asked Brus­sels for hun­dreds of mil­lions of euro more in funds to shore up firms.

How­ever, after re­ceiv­ing a writ­ten par­lia­men­tary ques­tion re­sponse on the mat­ter last week, Fianna Fáil busi­ness spokesper­son Billy Kelle­her said lit­tle progress has been made on the is­sue to date — just two months out from the Brexit divorce date. Multi­na­tional firms’ spe­cial re­la­tion­ship with Ire­land, or at least our English-speak­ing work­force and cor­po­rate tax rate, is ex­pected to only grow due to Brexit.

Deal:

Love them or loathe them, there is no es­cap­ing the cur­rent im­por­tance of multi­na­tional firms to the econ­omy.

With Google, Face­book, LinkedIn and other heavy­hit­ters lo­cat­ing their Euro­pean bases in Ire­land, in part be­cause of our cor­po­rate tax pol­icy, keep­ing the com­pa­nies happy dur­ing Brexit will be key.

While the cur­rent ques­tion marks over what will hap­pen with Brexit have led to le­git­i­mate con­cerns be­ing raised due to the in­creased dif­fi­cul­ties in ac­cess­ing the British mar­ket, it is widely ex­pected Ire­land will re­main cen­tral to multi­na­tional firms’ plans.

No deal:

One of the few up­shots of a no-deal sit­u­a­tion for Ire­land will be the likely surge in multi­na­tion­als com­ing to this coun­try from Bri­tain.

While the UK gov­ern­ment has sig­nalled it may try and make it­self more at­trac­tive to firms by cut­ting its own cor­po­rate tax rate, the fact that a no deal sit­u­a­tion will see the coun­try com­pletely cut off from Europe is al­most cer­tain to be a de­cid­ing fac­tor.

With English-speak­ing Ire­land still in the EU, and pro­vided our con­tro­ver­sial cor­po­rate tax rate re­mains in place, there is a strong be­lief that more multi­na­tional firms — not fewer — will be based in this coun­try postBrexit. Banks, fi­nan­cial ser­vices and other busi­nesses are al­ready plan­ning to come to Ire­land re­gard­less of the Brexit out­come.

Deal:

Even if the ex­ist­ing Brexit deal is some­how passed through West­min­ster on Tues­day, firms cur­rently based in Lon­don’s fi­nan­cial hub are plan­ning to re­lo­cate to Ire­land.

To date, four lead­ing banks and fi­nan­cial ser­vices have agreed to move to Dublin.

They in­clude Lloyd’s mov­ing its EU head­quar­ters from Lon­don to Dublin; JP Mor­gan agree­ing to trans­fer “hun­dreds” of po­si­tions from Lon­don to Dublin, Frank­furt and Lux­em­bourg; and Bar­clays mov­ing 150 jobs to the Ir­ish cap­i­tal from Lon­don to set up a new EU head­quar­ters.

Bank of Amer­ica is also mov­ing its head­quar­ters from Lon­don to Dublin

No deal

Ire­land’s — and par­tic­u­larly Dublin’s — close prox­im­ity to Lon­don means this trend will only grow if Bri­tain crashes out with­out a deal.

Al­though it brings its own prob­lems — namely where on earth to house thou­sands of new work­ers sud­denly flow­ing into the cap­i­tal — the Gov­ern­ment will at least be pri­vately rub­bing its hands at the op­por­tu­nity for Dublin to ben­e­fit from the City of Lon­don’s fi­nan­cial woes in a dooms­day Brexit.

The In­ter­na­tional Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Cen­tre (IFSC) is al­ready a ma­jor busi­ness hotspot, and is set to grow sig­nif­i­cantly even if the worst hap­pens on the po­lit­i­cal scene. The Brexit cri­sis could cost the tourism in­dus­try a whop­ping €390m.

Deal:

In a best case Brexit deal sce­nario, British tourists are pre­dicted to con­tinue com­ing to Ire­land — but in smaller num­bers

How­ever, both Tourism Ire­land and Fáilte Ire­land are fear­ful a drop of up to 20% in British tourists over the com­ing years could still hap­pen due to the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two coun­tries.

To com­bat the pos­si­ble prob­lems, Ir­ish tourism bod­ies are con­tin­u­ing to push ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paigns both in Bri­tain and po­ten­tially more cru­cially in other Euro­pean coun­tries and North Amer­ica to help pro­tect the sec­tor from any fall­out.

No deal:

Nice hol­i­day? Feel­ing re­laxed? Great, now just the bill, sir.

Asked about the con­se­quences of a no deal by politi­cians at an Oireach­tas tourism com­mit­tee meet­ing in Novem­ber, Fáilte Ire­land’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Paul Kelly didn’t pull his punches, say­ing a crash out Brexit could cost the Ir­ish tourism sec­tor up to €390m.

Mr Kelly said the fig­ure which is €130m more than what the Tourism In­dus­try Coun­cil of­fi­cially pre­dicts — is based on a 20% drop in British tourism, with fears the sce­nario could be as dam­ag­ing and more long-term than the 2010 ash cloud cri­sis and the 2001 foot and mouth dis­ease scare.

And he was not alone in his con­cerns, with Tourism Ire­land chief ex­ec­u­tive Niall Gib­bons telling the same com­mit­tee ru­ral Ire­land will be af­fected “more than any­where” — with the West, South-West and bor­der ar­eas ex­pected to be worst hit. Trips to Bri­tain and con­ti­nen­tal Europe are fac­ing into short-term Brexit tur­bu­lence.

Deal:

If, like just about ev­ery­one in Ire­land, you want to get away from all this Brexit talk with a nice, stress-free hol­i­day abroad, you might want to cross your fin­gers for a deal.

Un­der ex­ist­ing open sky rules, there is no hin­drance to British, EU and Ir­ish planes fly­ing through each oth­ers airspace, a sit­u­a­tion a deal would main­tain in a move that would ben­e­fit ev­ery­one in­volved.

No deal:

Taoiseach Leo Varad­kar caused up­roar in Der­ry­nane, west Kerry, last July when he said British planes will not be able to use EU airspace in a hard Brexit, but he had a point.

Un­for­tu­nately, the flip side of the is­sue is that Ir­ish planes will not be able to use British airspace ei­ther.

Since the con­tro­ver­sial re­mark, EU, Ir­ish and British of­fi­cials have moved to ad­dress the prob­lem, with the EU no deal Brexit con­tin­gency plans pub­lished in De­cem­ber say­ing British planes will be al­lowed ac­cess to EU airspace on a point-to­point ba­sis.

This means they can travel to one desti­na­tion and back to Bri­tain, but can­not travel on from the EU desti­na­tion to a third coun­try.

The of­fer is based on an equiv­a­lent agree­ment be­ing reached for EU planes fly­ing to or through British airspace.

But at the very least, it means there is the risk of more po­ten­tial Brexit tur­bu­lence for Ir­ish pas­sen­gers just try­ing to get away from it all.

There’s no es­cape from Brexit, ba­si­cally.

RES­I­DENTS: The rights of British peo­ple liv­ing in Ire­land and Ir­ish peo­ple liv­ing in Bri­tain are set to be pro­tected what­ever hap­pens.

FARM­ING AND FISH­ING: While Brexit will af­fect all as­pects of Ir­ish life, the farm­ing and fish­ing in­dus­tries are by far the most vul­ner­a­ble due to long-stand­ing con­nec­tions with the British mar­ket.

THE NORTH: In a no-deal sce­nario, the likely im­po­si­tion of cus­toms checks on the bor­der will sig­nif­i­cantly in­crease the amount of time it takes to travel to the North.

BRITISH BUSI­NESSES: Banks, fi­nan­cial ser­vices and other busi­nesses are al­ready plan­ning to come to Ire­land re­gard­less of the Brexit out­come.

Pic­ture: PA

TRAVEL: There is the risk of more po­ten­tial Brexit tur­bu­lence for Ir­ish pas­sen­gers just try­ing to get away from it all.

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