Government bodies and entrepreneurs discuss impact of Brexit on Irish Business at seminar hosted by ByrneWallace

Posted in : ROI on 25 May 2017

The key themes for discussion at a seminar hosted by ByrneWallace in their offices on Wednesday, 24 May centred on understanding how prepared Ireland and Irish businesses are for Brexit.

Over 100 CEOs, directors and business professionals representing some of Ireland's leading indigenous and international companies attended the event, and heard from a panel of experienced business leaders and senior representatives from semi state and government bodies in discussion about the potential effect of Brexit on Ireland’s economy and the measures and supports which are being put in place to assist Ireland’s entrepreneurs and business community to prepare for Brexit.  

The seminar was opened by guest of honour Micheál Martin TD, Leader of Fianna Fáil, who shared his views on Brexit, outlining his party’s Brexit policy and the plans and initiatives which they recommend should be developed to support the Irish business community.

Micheál Martin also joined a panel discussion on Brexit which was moderated by Brendan Keenan (Economic Columnist and former Group Business Editor at Independent Newspapers). The panellists included Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland; Eoin O’Neill, President of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce;   Ronan Gargan, Director, EU-UK Unit, EU Division, Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade; and Michael Cullen, CEO Investec.

 “The impact of Brexit is particularly profound for Irish business,” said Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland. “35% of the exports of Enterprise Ireland backed companies in 2016 were to the UK, but the exposure is as high as 90% in some traditional sectors such as construction and timber.  The impact is already evident; we saw a 10% drop in the growth rate of exports to the UK from 12% in 2015 to 2% in 2016.  So Brexit is already impacting.” 

Focusing on financial services, Michael Cullen, CEO Investec, said, “Brexit will have a significant impact as to how financial services are delivered across the EU. In Ireland the implementation of any Brexit strategy, hard or soft, is likely to reduce competition as costs will rise for UK based Irish financial institutions who wish to compete in the Irish market.”

Commenting on the event, Managing Partner Catherine Guy said, “In the wake of the Brexit vote last June, we have experienced far greater engagement with Irish and international clients who currently trade with or have operations in the UK and who are seeking assistance in assessing the potential legal and regulatory impact of Brexit on their business, and assistance with their contingency planning. 

“It is clear that the Irish business community are highly aware of the issues and are adopting an extremely proactive approach in planning and taking the necessary steps now to future proof their businesses post-Brexit.

“The purpose of this event was to provide our clients with accurate information and insights which may help to inform their decisions.  By bringing together an expert panel of leading industry experts and state representatives to share their knowledge and experience, we hope to contribute to the thinking on the challenges which Brexit presents and to support Irish businesses in positioning themselves to exploit the opportunities and mitigate any potential risks to their business post-Brexit.”

Julie Sinnamon added, “Events like this seminar hosted by ByrneWallace are important in raising awareness of the need to use the period of the negotiations to prepare for the new trading conditions, post Brexit.  If we wait until the new trading arrangements become known, we risk losing hard-won global market positions.”

This article is correct at 25/05/2017
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