Irish Govt Is 'Sleep Walking' Into Brexit Disaster, Claims Opposition

With just nine months until Brexit, Irish business remains "woefully ill prepared for its implications", warns Fianna Fáil’s Business, Enterprise and Innovation Spokesperson, Billy Kelleher TD.

He claims Minister Humphreys is sleep-walking in her Department as Brexit looms, as competitiveness plummets and cost of doing business rises.

Deputy Kelleher was commenting after receiving a series of parliamentary responses from the Department on the level of uptake by Irish businesses of a range of supports designed to mitigate against Brexit.

He points out that despite there being in excess of 250,000 enterprises in the country, just 2311 have made use of out Enterprise Ireland’s Brexit SME Scorecard, which allows businesses to self-assess their exposure to Brexit under six business pillars.

Additionally, he claims that the success of businesses in securing Intertrade Ireland’s Brexit Readiness Vouchers has been "far from ideal". Out of 3016 SMEs who engaged with the agency, just 281 made an application with only 107 being successful.

While just 2% of Enterprise Ireland’s 5648 client companies have availed of its Brexit ‘Be Prepared Grants’.

“It seems to me that the Department aren’t bothered by this low take up on these schemes and services," says Billy Kelleher TD.

“We are incredibly close to having a hard border on the island of Ireland unless things dramatically change when the negotiations resume.

“Irish businesses, on both sides of the border, but across the whole country, are incredibly exposed to Brexit. Jobs are at risk if our SMEs don’t have the skills, knowledge and resources needed to mitigate against the myriad risks associated with Brexit.

“Minister Humphreys is sleep walking in her Department. Despite the increasing cost of doing business in the country, the hammering our competitiveness is taking, and the ill preparedness of Irish SMEs with regard to Brexit, Minister Humphreys is happy to keep going and spinning the same lines about,” concluded Kelleher.


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