Sunday 20 January 2019

Irish firms warned over lack of preparation

Business Minister Heather Humphreys. Photo: Steve Humphries
Business Minister Heather Humphreys. Photo: Steve Humphries
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

Concern is growing over a high level of Brexit complacency among Irish businesses.

Government agencies have warned Business Minister Heather Humphreys that further plans must be drawn up to help vulnerable businesses survive post-Brexit.

The future regulation of accounting and auditing services has been raised as a problematic area, because firms in the sector have operated on an all-island basis for decades.

Last month the minister chaired her first Brexit Co- ordination Group meeting with department officials and representatives from key agencies, including IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and Science Federation Ireland.

Notes from the co-ordination group meeting obtained by the Irish Independent under the Freedom of Information Act show Enterprise Ireland executive director Kevin Sherry told Ms Humphreys that Brexit poses a significant challenge to many of its clients.

She was also warned companies needed to be more prepared for Brexit.

"It was noted that the high level of complacency among firms is concerning," says the note.

"It was agreed that the department and its agencies must continue to work with firms and business representative bodies to ensure enterprise moves quickly to develop mitigation strategies."

Government agencies told the minister that multinational companies based here are exposed to market risks because of Brexit and fear it will lead to transport and supply-chain issues.

Mr Sherry said while the outcome of Brexit negotiations remains uncertain, it will result in "increased costs and trade disruptions".

He said 1,673 of Enterprise Ireland's clients export to the UK and 651 are left highly exposed by Brexit.

Irish Independent

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