Monday, April 08, 2019

THE most important meal of the day seemed an appropriate time to discuss one of the most importance issues facing the Irish economy – Brexit.

Senator Jennifer Murnane O’Connor hosted a Brexit Business Breakfast in the Seven Oaks Hotel recently, aimed at informing the business community of the supports available to them in these very challenging times. Speakers included businesswoman Jo Browne, a huge local success story, John Madigan from the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland, who administers the Brexit loan scheme, Melanie Guing Ryan, a specialist in the area of business mentoring and business psychology, and Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary.

Those in attendance also heard from Brian O’Farrell, CEO of Carlow Chamber of Commerce, on how the chamber can support the business community into the future, while Tom O’Neill from New Work Junction discussed the benefits of remote working for employer and employee.

Senator Murnane O’Connor urged the government to take action now to avoid “the complete devastation of the sectors most exposed to Brexit”.

“One of the key takeaways from our Brexit discussion was the lack of preparedness for a hard-deal Brexit. While I accept that it can be hard to plan for the unknown, what we do know is that it will be bad – any outcome of Brexit, hard or soft, will be difficult,” she said.

“The ESRI recently released a report which assessed that the economic impact of Brexit on Ireland will be considerable in either a deal or no-deal scenario, costing the economy between €8bn and €15bn. This money will have to come from somewhere and there are many sectors which are particularly susceptible,” said senator Murnane O’Connor.

“We have beef and suckler farmers on their knees, hauliers not knowing where they stand and construction companies in fear of disruption to their supply chains. The time for waiting and seeing what happens has long passed,” the senator stressed.

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By Suzanne Pender
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