North is EU region 'most exposed' to Brexit
Published 07/07/2016 | 02:30
Northern Ireland will be the area of the European Union that is "most exposed" to the impact of Brexit, a senior Irish business leader has warned.
John McGrane, director general of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce (BICC), said those who believe Westminster will spend money saved from ending the UK's membership of the EU on Northern Ireland need to realise "that isn't going to happen".
There had already been "disinvestment" in London stretching back for the last few months, and any benefits to Irish border areas due to weaker Sterling would be short-term, he argued.
And he predicted that the South, which is the second biggest market for firms in Northern Ireland after the UK, will spend less in the North.
Mr McGrane, who worked for 40 years as a financial services professional with the Royal Bank of Scotland/Ulster Bank group in Ireland, said that clarity on what form the UK's new relationship with the EU will take was needed "very quickly".
He was speaking yesterday at the SDLP-organised 'We Are The 56pc' event. The SDLP has warned that the North's First Minister Arlene Foster has no authority to join negotiations to exit the EU after Northern Ireland voted to remain.
BICC, a private sector organisation that represents businesses with all-Ireland interests, had campaigned for a reformed EU under the slogan, 'Lead not leave'.