Business and industry fears over hard border
Dundalk Chamber of Commerce highlighted the concerns of business and industry over 'any reinstatement' of a border post Brexit as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar attended an event at the Carrickdale Hotel last week.
'It is somewhat pertinent that we are here dining 500 metres from what is a very open border,' said Michael Gaynor, President of Dundalk Chamber of Commerce.
'Any suggestion whatsoever that the position might change in the future is indeed very concerning.' He added the acceptance from all governments that an open border must be maintained.
'But Dundalk Chamber of Commerce is justifiably concerned that the reinstatement of any kind of hard border would have obvious negative consequences for cross border trade, and economic activity. There is a real fear within border communities that any reinstatement of a border may impact on our hard earned peace process.'
Speaking at the event sponsored by CX+Sport, Mr. Gaynor added: 'Dundalk Chamber recognise that Brexit, and the economic challenges that it may bring to our country, may best be addressed by seeking platforms where our fellow EU states can recognise and understand and support the unique position of the island of Ireland within the EU.'
He added 'In recent days we welcomed the European co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt's comments in Dail Eireann that the EU will not allow Ireland to suffer because of Brexit, a most welcome statement.'
'We also acknowledge and welcome the participation of Louth County Council, along with 11 other local authorities in the preparation and compilation of a Brexit report which is being presented to Brussels in the next number of weeks.'
An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar welcomed proposals from the UK government for a two year transition period for the UK's exit from Europe, that would take effect in 2021.
'That at least means that if there is any sort of a border on our island that it won't be before 2021, if it ever happens at all, and that gives us time to prepare and negotiate a new trading relationship between the UK and the rest of Europe.
He added: 'When it comes to the challenge of Brexit, we intend to shape our own destiny and not allow others to do it for us. We seek three key things, of course continuing the gains of the peace process and the visions of the Good Friday agreement, retaining crucial things like INTERREG and Peace funding, even if the UK leaves these should remain in place for particularly important reasons. We also want to ensure that there are no new barriers to trade, not just north south, but also east west, which is so important for agri food industry.
We also want to maintain the common travel area, which is essentially a common citizenship, it says to Irish people in the UK and British people in Ireland that we can live and work in each other's countries, access housing and welfare, education, pensions, as though we are citizens of both.