Tuesday 12 December 2017

Food, retail and tourism staff at risk as €500m lost in exports

The devaluation of sterling is hitting workers in hotels, bars and restaurants, and retail workers along the Border. Stock picture
The devaluation of sterling is hitting workers in hotels, bars and restaurants, and retail workers along the Border. Stock picture

Anne-Marie Walsh

Staff in food, retail and tourism businesses are already feeling the pinch as a result of the devaluation of the pound, according to the Department of Finance.

A total of €500m was wiped off food exports to the UK in the second half of last year. Department economists believe workers in rural areas and the Border are most at risk.

They have pinpointed the five most vulnerable manufacturing sectors that employ a total of 112,562 workers. The food and drink sector has been earmarked, which has more people working in it than any other. Almost 80pc are located outside Dublin and some firms export more than 80pc of their output to the UK.

Traditional manufacturing is also vulnerable, which includes textiles, clothing, leather and wood products.

Workers in the materials manufacturing area, such as rubber production, basic metals and fabricated metals, are also at risk from the impact of Brexit.

Economists have also identified the pharma-chem industry as vulnerable. This includes multinationals such as GlaxoSmithKline and Eli Lilly.

The printing industry has also been earmarked as a sector that could be hit.

In addition to these industries the devaluation of sterling is hitting workers in hotels, bars and restaurants, and retail workers along the Border. Chief executive of the Irish Tourist Industry Federation Eoghan O'Mara Walsh said holidays to Ireland have become 15pc more expensive for British visitors.

Irish Independent

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