Ó Murchú: Brexit Breakfast, Useful Info for Local Businesses

Vincent Power (L) and Thomas McEvoy (R) with Cllr Ruairi Ó Murchú

Louth Sinn Féin councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú attended the recent business themed Brexit briefing hosted by Louth Local Enterprise Office (LEO) and the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland in the Ballymascanlon Hotel on Thursday last.

Councillor Ó Murchú said;

“The SCBI / LEO breakfast was certainly more impressive than recent commentary from Boris Johnson and others in relation to the entire Brexit debacle.

“This event, which had presentations by the SCBI, Enterprise Ireland, InterTrade Ireland and the LEO was designed to inform local businesses of the range of supports and finance that are available to business for Brexit proofing.”

Cllr Ó Murchú advised that “there is a necessity to draw the business community’s attention to these Brexit preparation aids.”

InterTrade Ireland has a ‘Brexit Voucher’ system which allows companies to engage a professional, to the value of €1,250 to evaluate its exposure to Brexit.

Enterprise Ireland offer ‘Be Prepared Grants’ for SMEs who would benefit from further research and may need specialist services in developing their Brexit plan. This grant can be up to €5,000.

The SCBI Brexit Loan Scheme offers amounts of between €25,000 to €1.5m, loan terms ranging from 1 year to 3 years and unsecured loans up to €500,000. All information relating to these schemes are to be found on each organisation’s website.

“The LEO contribution by Thomas McEvoy was a comprehensive list of the many services available to companies in relation to planning, marketing, their online platforms etc. and didn’t just relate to Brexit.

“For information on the all these services go to localenterprise.ie/louth.

“Any measures which may mitigate some of the negatives of the Brexit process on Irish companies are to be welcomed. I would encourage companies and businesses in Louth to seek further information from the Local Enterprise Office.”

This event was attended by representatives of many local businesses both SMEs and larger companies.

“Their attendance is proof of the levels of concern among the business community regarding the negative effects Brexit could have on their ability to trade competitively.

“Sinn Féin has consistently said that Brexit will be bad for Ireland, north and south, in economic, political, social and cultural terms. I believe that the Irish Government must ensure the backstop agreement is enacted in the event of a no deal Brexit.

“Dr Vincent Power, the highly entertaining keynote speaker told of the spectrum of Brexit in relation to the multiple facets of the economy and society and its impact upon them. Brexit in relation to people and goods being different to Brexit in relation to services and that’s not to speak of medicines and aviation etc. He explained the Customs Union and Single Market as being maintained by a hermetical seal along EU borders which are a lot less porous than ours. He stated that any Brexit deal likely to be done would be a ‘skinny deal’ and a perpetual state of negotiations between Britain and the EU.

“Following my question on how he foresaw the Irish border post Brexit. He couldn’t see anything other than a ‘Hong Kong’ type solution and a border in the Irish sea. Anything else would have definite ramifications for border communities and businesses.

“This solution sounds to me like special designated status for the 6 counties, which would allow it to stay within the EU and maintain the necessary alignments between North and South.

“This was a useful event and I commend the staff of Louth LEO for convening this information briefing.”

Ó Murchú: Latest Brexit Proposal is Absolute Farce

Cllrs Ó Murchú & Campbell with Thomas McEvoy (Louth LEO)

Sinn Féin Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has hit out at the latest Irish Border Crossings Proposal being considered by British Government as “an absolute farce and it flies in the face of the December agreement”

The British government is considering a ‘Brexit proposal’ for people to pre-register to facilitate fast track technological checks at the Irish border.

Cllr Ó Murchú has said “This would be unwieldy, unworkable, expensive and above all, unacceptable. Anyone not having this pre-clearance would have to use designated crossing points or would be considered to have entered the state ‘irregularly’. The proposal requires substantial technological infrastructure and physical barriers at some border crossings. Basically, a hard border!

This proposal is contained within ‘Smart Border 2.0: Avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland’, a report produced by an EU parliamentary committee.

Ó Murchú explained that “this reports talks of CCTV, vehicle tracking, technology that interacts with mobile phones and ‘specially enhanced licences’, different lanes for people who don’t have Irish or British citizenship and aren’t covered by the Common travel Area. Within it there is mention of a ‘trusted traders database’.

Ó Murchú, who is seeking election at the next General Election finds it “difficult to see how this sort of solution doesn’t involve physical custom and passport checks, particularly at major crossings like Carrickarnon on the N1 and Rassan on the N53 Castleblayney Road. Not everyone can be pre-registered, documents and licences can be mislaid or damaged, machines can go down and it is inconceivable that there wouldn’t be some sort of spot checking. Also this is a ‘solution’ in a world of complicated tariffs and compliance rules”.

“Simply, it just won’t work.”

This comes on top of Theresa May’s rejection of the legal text of the backstop deal with the EU, which she agreed to in December.

“While there are obviously elements of muscle flexing, posturing and negotiating gambits, it is becoming more likely that we are facing the prospect of a hard Brexit.”

“The Dublin government and the EU need to ensure that this doesn’t happen. There needs to be regulatory alignment on the island of Ireland. The island must stay within the Customs Union and the Common Market and ensure the rights and protections contained within the Good Friday Agreement are protected. The best way forward is for the North to have designated special status within the EU.”

“The deadline is 11pm March 29th 2019. Solutions need to be in place long before that. This is a countdown to chaos, a hard border is inconceivable and unacceptable.”

Businesses Should Prepare for Brexit – Cllr Ó Murchú

Cllrs Ó Murchú & Campbell with Thomas McEvoy (Louth LEO)

Sinn Féin Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has warned that Companies and businesses especially in the border area need to prepare for Brexit.

“While the emphasis needs to be on an EU and governmental solution to Brexit, small and medium enterprises should prepare for a worst case hard Brexit situation.

“Only 6% of SMEs in the South and 2% of SMEs in the North have a plan in place to deal with the possible impact from Brexit according to AIB’s fourth quarter 2017 Brexit Sentiment Index.”

Cllr Ó Murchú said “Thomas McEvoy, Head of Enterprise, and the Louth Enterprise Office have been briefing Louth County Council on the twists and turns of Brexit and they were instrumental in putting on the truly informative ‘Post Brexit International and Cross Border Conference’ in the Carrickdale Hotel recently.

“Not only were the obvious dangers to the economy across the island highlighted but also the varied facets of the impact of Brexit; it will have a bearing on taxation, employment, trade, customs, transport and logistics, compliance rules, legislation, importation, exportation etc. During council briefings and this conference there has been a strong emphasis on Brexit preparation programmes that are being put on offer for companies.”

Cllr Ó Murchú advised that “here is a necessity to draw the business community’s attention to these Brexit preparation aids. InterTrade Ireland has a ‘Brexit Voucher’ system which allows companies to engage a professional, to the value of €1,250 to evaluate its exposure to Brexit. Enterprise Ireland offer ‘Be Prepared Grants’ for SMEs who would benefit from further research and may need specialist services in developing their Brexit plan. This grant can be up to €5,000.

“Any measures which may mitigate some of the negatives of the Brexit process on Irish companies are to be welcomed. I would encourage companies and businesses in Louth to seek further information on ‘Brexit Vouchers’ and other related programmes from the Local Enterprise Office. We are very unprepared for Brexit and we are just over a year away”

For information on the Brexit Vochers or other related help go to localenterprise.ie/louth.