Fianna Fail Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Darragh O’Brien has demanded that the Government ensures the full protection of the export sector in Ireland, ahead of Britain’s exit from the European and Custom Union.
Earlier this week, Deputy O’Brien and the Fianna Fail Brexit team travelled to Brussels to meet with key stakeholders across industries to discuss to potential challenges and impact on Irish trade sectors.
Commenting following British Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech yesterday, he said, “Prime Minister May took the opportunity yesterday to reiterate that Britain will be leaving the single market, the customs union and the Common Fisheries Policy.
“This has the potential to have a major negative impact on our economy both North and South. There has already been a negative impact on the border counties and on small businesses due to the sterling depreciation”.
"I believe the Irish Government must prioritise and expedite contingency planning to ensure that the areas of our economy which are particularly vulnerable to the impact of Brexit are protected as best as possible.
“Large parts of our economy that trade heavily with Britain are frankly not "Brexit ready.” The Government now needs to show real leadership, particularly in light of the British Prime Minister's speech.
“It was clear during yesterday’s speech that Britain holds little understanding of the European Unions' absolute determination to protect the integrity of the Single Market and Customs Union.
"Prime Minister May and her Government seem intent on insisting that they can cherry pick from the EU what suits them and certain sectors of the UK economy, whilst discarding their responsibilities. The four freedoms of the European Union will be protected and rightly so.
“I sincerely hope that the December agreement remains as the Taoiseach described; “bullet proof.”
Deputy O’Brien concluded, “The British Prime Minister acknowledged yesterday that leaving the Single Market will result in less access to their market, therefore, the Irish Government and European colleagues must ensure every effort is made to support all export sectors across Ireland.”