Irish firms are still failing to focus on Brexit, warns EI
Irish companies are still not focusing enough on Brexit preparations, the head of Enterprise Ireland has warned.
Julie Sinnamon said companies needed to have a plan in place to deal with the potential fall-out, especially those exposed to the British market.
At the publication of the agency's annual results, she said there had been a big increase in the number of companies participating in trade missions, as well as a rise in interest in eurozone markets.
But she added: "Despite all of the roadshows, all of the work we've done through broadcasting, Brexit scorecards (an EI initiative), there still is not enough focus by Irish companies in terms of preparing for Brexit.
"This continues to be a major focus for us in 2018. I think companies were initially very slow to believe that this was actually going to happen. I think when we saw a hike in the exchange rate, it had an increased focus.
"What we have seen since then is a higher level of interest from companies beginning to take action. The big issue has been getting sufficient companies to move in to action as supposed to talking about it."
Ms Sinnamon said not enough companies had looked at the risks and put plans in place to address them.
Brexit has had an impact on exporting firms in terms of cash flow and profitability.
"The strongest and most professional companies are committing a lot of resources to Brexit if they are exposed to the UK market, so everybody exposed to the UK market has to have a plan," she said.
About 70 Enterprise Ireland (EI) client companies had availed of a Brexit grant by last month since the scheme went live earlier last year, according to data obtained by Fianna Fáil.
The EI 'Be Prepared Grant' provides firms with up to €5,000 to get themselves in shape to deal with any potential fallout from the UK's EU exit.
The grant support is designed to help firms cover consultancy, travel and other out-of-pocket expenses associated with drawing up a Brexit action plan.