Sunday 25 August 2019

The Punt: Brexit not a worry here

Enda Kenny
Enda Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny may have spent Monday warning British businesses about the impact of a UK exit from the European Union, but it seems he could do with making the argument closer to home.

While Mr Kenny, pictured, warned that a so-called 'Brexit' would be a major strategic risk for Ireland, some businesses here don't seem too bothered about the prospect. A survey from chartered accountants BDO found that almost two-thirds of those questioned weren't terribly concerned by the prospect.

In the survey of 350 Irish businesses, just 11pc said they were very concerned about the possibility of Britain leaving the EU, with 27pc saying they were fairly concerned. Of the remainder, 37pc said they weren't particularly concerned, while about a quarter said they weren't bothered at all. Some 62pc of businesses in Dublin were either not overly concerned or not concerned

"Our survey results are a worry and show that businesses in Ireland aren't taking the possibility of a 'Brexit' seriously enough," said BDO's Michael Costello.

"Our advice for Irish business is that they should not underestimate the potential impact of a British exit from the EU."

ISME takes it Handy

Management guru Charles Handy and British Ambassador Dominick Chilcott will be among the speakers sharing their insights with representatives from Irish small and medium enterprises (SMEs) at the ISME conference this coming Friday.

The event, which takes place at the RDS in Dublin, has taken the theme "Daring to succeed". The half-day conference, with broadcaster Matt Cooper as MC, will feature discussions on topics including the challenges of making the so-called digital switch from "bricks to clicks" and of reinvigorating established businesses.

Trade with our closest neighbour Britain, and the potential fallout of a UK withdrawal from the European Union, will be a particular focus. The conference ends with the Great Debate, a panel discussion focused on the current business environment for SMEs, and featuring entrepreneur and journalist Margaret E Ward, UCD's Prof Peter Clinch, who chairs the National Competitiveness Council, economist Jim Power and business journalist Donal O'Donovan, of this parish.

Greggs shy on Irish stores

The Irish Independent revealed recently that UK high street bakery chain Greggs is set to open its first ever outlet in the Republic of Ireland in the coming months, at a location in north Dublin. It will operate from an Applegreen petrol forecourt. There's also a Greggs at an Applegreen outlet in Northern Ireland.

But while readers went wild with excitement that Greggs - which has nearly 1,700 outlets in Britain - is opening here, don't expect a raft of stores.

Greggs' chief executive Roger Whiteside said in an interview with the 'Sunday Telegraph' that expanding into the Republic of Ireland is problematic because of currency differences, regulations and the fact that there's an established convenience outlet network.

He said that Northern Ireland is "interesting" for Greggs.

Whiteside also conceded that (sausage) rolling the Greggs brand out internationally is difficult.

"A big part of our business is still sausage rolls and pasties, and there is nowhere else in the world that eats sausage rolls. In Germany they eat loads of pretzels and here you can't give them away," he said. Whiteside also said that the company has been trying to build its presence at UK airports, which might raise its international profile. "The people who control the airports don't want us because we're too inexpensive," he said.

Irish Independent

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