Saturday 18 January 2020

Brexit is threatening to prove a major headache for Irish staff

Concerns: Martin McVicar
Concerns: Martin McVicar

Ralph Riegel

Brexit is threatening to prove a major headache for Irish staff who commute daily to work across the Border.

The boss of Ireland's exporter of the year, who has 46 of his 450-strong Monaghan-based workforce commuting from Northern Ireland, admitted no one knows what will happen in terms of their future tax or social insurance payments.

With the UK about to leave the EU, all such traditional understandings of tax, social insurance payments and even workers' rights are now being cast into doubt.

Combilift founder Martin McVicar also said that while UK sales for his forklift firm have continued to increase post-Brexit, the mounting uncertainty over what will happen with a UK-EU departure deal is forcing firms to make hard choices.

"In 2016, our sales in the UK were up by about 14pc," he said. "So far in 2017, our sales to the UK are again up on 2016, probably by around 10pc. But that is a bit less than what we had hoped for."


UK firms are increasingly hesitant about committing to major expansion or investment projects given the uncertainty over Brexit, particularly in the wake of the UK general election.

Mr McVicar said his major concern is that London and Brussels will not be able to hammer out an agreement within the two-year timetable - and that a return to World Trade Organisation (WTO) tariffs could be forced.

"No one was talking about that last year. But they are talking about it now," he said.

His firm, like many others operating in the UK market, saw UK sub-contractors and components as a way of offsetting elements of the volatility in sterling against the euro.

However, the mounting concern over the potential re-introduction of tariffs between UK and EU markets has sparked a major re-think.

Irish Independent

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