A most unnatural border - Martin Kenny TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on rural affairs Martin Kenny TD asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring what preparations or contingency planning is being carried out to address a no-deal Brexit for rural communities especially in the border region.
Speaking in the Dáil today, Deputy Kenny said:
“The border in Ireland is a most unnatural border because it breaks townlands and parishes and cuts through the whole of rural Ireland. It is a very rural area.
“I would like an assurance from the Minister and his Department that plans are in place to invest in those areas in the context of Brexit.
"Those areas will need an absolute commitment that we can pour money into them to try and ensure the negative impacts of Brexit will be curtailed.
“We really need a plan to seek additional funds particularly from Europe because this is a European problem, not just an Irish problem, although Ireland will meet the biggest impact of it."
Speaking of small businesses along the border, the Sligo-Leitrim TD said:
“These are businesses in transport, agri-food and a whole range of sectors. I spoke to a man last week who is importing products.
"He feels he will face serious problems, particularly with VAT, because, if Britain is out of the European Union, he will have to pay the VAT when he imports goods, rather than when he sells them.
“That will have a huge impact on him and his business and he is not even prepared as to how to do the paperwork around that, let alone how he will pay for it.
“He spoke to the bank about it. Will he get the resources he needs? Will he get an extension of the credit he needs to do that? There is no answer there. It is issues like that on which the Government needs to come in and show that it has the resources in place to protect these small businesses.
“The reason why we are in this position is because of a conflict between a member of the European Union and the European Union itself.
“If Europe is saying it is prepared to stand behind us when it comes to the backstop and all of these matters, funds must be put in place to do this.
"There is no good in saying that they stand behind us in poverty. That is the way it is going to end up in a lot of areas in rural Ireland where we be do not have the resources or the capacity to build into the future.”