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Customs obligations post-Brexit ‘potentially devastating for business across the island’ – Doherty

25 May, 2017 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has described details heard today by members of the Oireachtas Finance Committee into the likely cost burden which companies will incur as a direct result of meeting customs obligations post-Brexit as “potentially devastating for business on the island”.

Deputy Doherty was reacting to comments made today by company partner at BDO Customs and Trade, Ms Carol Lynch, who was invited to address members of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance during its discussions on customs, trade and tariffs in the wake of Brexit.

Speaking following today’s sitting, Deputy Doherty said:

“While I very much welcome the participation of BDO Customs and Trade at today’s Committee meeting, I think it’s clear to say that Ms Lynch’s comments will strike much fear within the business community here.

“In her opening statement to the Committee earlier today, Ms Lynch unequivocally spelled out the likely costs which businesses trading goods into and out of the north will potentially face as a direct consequence of meeting their customs obligations post-Brexit.

“BDO has put the likely cost to business of customs declarations on imports and exports to the north at an estimated €100 per movement, adding that businesses will be required to either hire additional staff or make payments to recruitment agents in order to trade.

“And this point was further reinforced in the remarks made by Chartered Accountants of Ireland which described the additional administrative burden as akin to the imposition of a ‘new tax’ on businesses here.

“It’s merely stating the obvious to say that such forecasts, should the north be forced out of the EU following the UK’s withdrawal, will have a devastating impact on businesses across this island.

“This is particularly true in the case of border businesses, many of which will not be in a position to withstand any additional trading costs, never mind possibly up to €100 per consignment

“We know from estimates that some 2.3 million such cross-border trips are made each year, and this extra strain on companies will likely result in business closures and this will wipe out many border communities as a result.

“Clearly, the Government must give serious consideration to the case which Sinn Féin has made which is for the north to be given special designated status within the EU following Brexit. Otherwise, I fear very much for the future survival of border communities here.” 

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