Sinn Féin councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú attended a Brexit briefing event on Wednesday morning in the Imperial Hotel, Dundalk, hosted by ISME, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprise representative body.
Councillor Ó Murchú said,
“The Brexit briefing was well attended. I spoke to a number of these business people and I know they found the session useful and informative.
“InterTradeIreland have reported that only a tiny percentage of businesses are prepared for Brexit. I can understand that owners of small enterprises are often busy juggling many roles within the business and don’t necessarily have the luxury of employing a Brexit co-ordinator or contracting in specialist assistance.
“The message from ISME’s Neil McDonnell is that small firms need to examine supply chains two suppliers up, and two customers down and plan accordingly.
“InterTradeIreland’s Denise Marron highlighted to attendees their Brexit voucher scheme, valued at €2,250 which is available to SMEs to purchase specialised expertise. I encourage business owners to follow up on this as it could save them money and add to their Brexit preparedness.
“Businesses should contact the Local Enterprise Office or InterTradeIreland in relation to this or other Brexit aids. Info relating to these combined with other Brexit preparation resources are easily available on the LEO, InterTradeIreland and Enterprise Ireland’s websites.
“The event also focused on the customs implications of a no deal Brexit.
“This scenario looks increasingly likely following Boris Johnson’s dreadful decision to suspend the British parliament for 5 weeks.
“The advice from Customs Broker, Derek Dunne is that businesses involved in cross border and cross channel imports and exports need to prepare for the customs declaration system they will have to operate.
“The requirements will be to have a EORI number (European Union registration and identification number) alongside a ROS digital certificate from Revenue. They also need to identify their commodity codes to know the appropriate tariffs applicable to the goods they use. People should use the tariff checker facility on the InterTradeIreland website.
“Irish businesses should not trust in the promises of British politicians regarding the free flow of goods and services across the border after Brexit, particularly after the recent leaks from the British side.
“There is no good Brexit for Irish business but I urge companies to do all they can now to mitigate against the known issues Brexit will present.”
Sinn Féin general election candidate for Louth, Cllr Ruairí Ó Murchú, has travelled to Belfast this morning to participate in a demonstration to coincide with the visit of the new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Councillor Ó Murchú said;
“I have travelled to Belfast this morning with many others who, like me, want to show their opposition to Brexit and to the attitude of the new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“Mr Johnson’s comments that he will abolish the ‘backstop’ and that he is prepared for Britain to withdraw from the EUwith no deal in place will have devastating consequences for the people of this island.
“A report published last month by the British Government indicated 142 areas of co-operation between the 26 counties and the north and between the island of Ireland and Britain. Brexit jeopardises all of this.
“A report published just two weeks ago by the North’s Department for the Economy predicts 40,000 jobs at risk in the event of a no deal Brexit.
“Job losses of that magnitude will have a ripple effect right across this country.
“It is absolutely incumbent on the Irish Government, while remaining steadfast in support of the withdrawal agreement and the backstop, to prepare for a hard Brexit and to outline a financial package for vulnerable sectors in the event that this occurs.
“The other imperative for the Irish Government is to prepare for Irish Unity.
“Irish Unity is a realistic and legitimate aspiration and it is now a daily topic of discussion.
“The reunification of Ireland is not only desirable in the event of a hard Brexit, but growing economic opinions state the financial benefits which unity could bring.
“It is the responsibility of the Irish Government to actively explore this possibility.”
Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has warned that “the election of Boris Johnson as British Prime Minister and the increased likelihood of a no-deal Brexit threatens jobs in Louth and along the border corridor”.
Gerry Adams TD said:
“The election of Boris Johnson, his appointment of a hard-line pro-Brexit Cabinet, and the establishment of a so-called ‘War Cabinet’ has significantly ramped up the potential for a no-deal Brexit. The consequences of this for Louth, for the Good Friday Agreement and for the restoration of the political institutions in the North, are not good.
Equally damaging for jobs and investment is the impact of Brexit on border counties, and especially Louth which straddles the Dublin-Belfast economic corridor.
According to the Government’s contingency action plan update, published at the beginning of July, there are likely to be job losses in this state of between 50,000 to 55,000 in the most exposed sectors. A report published yesterday by the North’s Department for the Economy predicts that up to 40,000 jobs will be at risk from a no-deal Brexit.
In June a confidential British Government study was published by the British Parliament’s Brexit select committee. It identified 142 areas of co-operation, including in the areas of agriculture, health, the environment and transport between this state and the North, and between the island of Ireland and Britain. All of these will be seriously affected by a no-deal Brexit”.
Commenting on An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s remarks on Unity at the MacGill Summer School last week. Teachta Adams said:
“I welcome the Taoiseach’s belated realisation that a hard Brexit on October 31st, against the wishes of people in the North, which takes away their European citizenship, and undermines the Good Friday Agreement, will increase interest in and support for Irish Unity.
Mr. Varadkar now needs to move beyond expressions of concern and begin the process of planning for Irish unity. Currently he says that producing a White Paper or establishing a Forum on Unity would fuel the accusation that the Irish government is exploiting Brexit. The reality is that it is the responsibility of governments to plan for different eventualities. Irish Unity is clearly now one of these and there is a responsibility on Mr. Varadkar to plan for it.”
Louth Sinn Féin has launched its plan to address the immediate social and economic issues arising from Brexit, including the need for a referendum on Irish Unity.
The event, which took place in An Táin, Dundalk, on Friday 1st March, was chaired by Councillor Anne Campbell and attended by numerous Sinn Féin activists and members of the local media.
Councillor Ó Murchú said, “With just over 4 weeks to go before the March 29th deadline it’s fair to say that the chaos in the British government surrounding Brexit has reached new depths of confusion.
“The British Conservative Party and Parliament are as deeply divided as ever as a result of that government’s incompetence in managing the self-inflicted Brexit crisis. “Brexit poses a significant threat to the economy of County Louth, to jobs and infrastructure. It threatens the two economies on this island, will undermine social cohesion, and directly attacks the Good Friday Agreement.
“In the referendum in 2016 the clear majority of voters in the North voted to remain within the EU. The DUP and the British government continue to disrespect that democratic vote.
“Sinn Féin has consistently campaigned in the European Parliament, the Dáil and Westminster to ensure there is no hard border and that communities and businesses, especially along the border corridor, are protected.
“The withdrawal agreement, and in particular the backstop arrangement, if implemented would go some way to achieving this objective. “However, we should not lose sight of the fact that the current draft withdrawal agreement will not stop Brexit.
“The onus to defend the two economies on this island and the rights of citizens in the North, rests squarely with the Irish government.
“The Irish Government in its lobby of our EU neighbours on Brexit rightly stressed the centrality of the Good Friday Agreement to the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.
“Yet we have the Tánaiste and the Taoiseach repeatedly dismissing a part of the agreement, which is a referendum on Irish unity.
“That too is a key provision and an integral part of the Good Friday Agreement.
“The Taoiseach and the Tánaiste cannot cherry-pick from the Good Friday Agreement. There is a responsibility and a constitutional obligation to promote the goal of Irish unity and to work to achieve it through democratic dialogue and negotiation.
“This paper seeks to address the immediate social and economic issues arising from Brexit, including the need for a referendum on Irish Unity.”