Negotiations on Brexit could be a double edged sword for Ireland with a need not only to protect our exports but also to strongly defend all sectors of our economy in any post Brexit scenario”.
This was stated by Marian Harkin following her intervention in the European Parliament which marked the first contribution by an MEP from the Republic in the Brexit debate.
Speaking in Strasbourg tonight, Monday, July 4th, she said:-“ Brexit poses many challenges but without a doubt the country most affected outside of the UK will be Ireland. 17% of our exports go to the UK with a large proportion from our SME’s and our agri-food sector. We also risk the introduction of a hard border going right through our small island. Ireland will need some kind of temporary regime or some type of support if the UK does not have access to the single market.
“There have been calls for a soft landing for Northern Ireland, for example, but any kind of light regime for Northern Ireland while they maintain access to the single market would significantly disadvantage business and agriculture in the Republic.
“If a business or a farmer in Northern Ireland does not have to apply the same rules, does not have to operate under the same restrictions as a business or farmer in the Republic, then they would have a real competitive advantage. We would not be operating on a level playing field and in a balanced way, we must strongly defend all of our economic interests”.