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Government must do more for Brexit business preparedness – Cullinane

18 February, 2019 - by David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson for Brexit David Cullinane today criticised the government for their weak approach to Brexit for businesses, saying online courses and slideshows are nothing more than window-dressing for a negation of responsibility.

Deputy Cullinane said:

“It is incredible that the government is telling businesses to step up their Brexit preparedness when it is the government itself that is failing in this regard.

“Today, the minister for Business Heather Humphries urged companies to avail of the grant for consultants and to contact their local enterprise Ireland office for news on supply chains.

“This would be ridiculous, were it not so serious.

“We are less than six weeks away from a no-deal Brexit and the best that this government can come up with is a help-line and a slideshow from consultants.

“There is a need for direct government support for those importers and exporters that trade exclusively with Britain. The vast majority of these businesses are small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and as such are lacking the scale of resources to easily change practices that were many years in the making – and to do so before the end of March 2019.

“The government is demanding the impossible of our SMEs and, when challenged on it, Fine Gael hides behind a helpline and consultants. This is not good enough. We need a plan that is directed at the issues facing Ireland, not just those facing the EU.

“Unlike this government, Sinn Féin has listened to the concerns of businesses and citizens. Last week, I launched a document on Brexit preparedness.

“It put forward a €2bn Brexit stabilisation fund which would be in addition to any EU supports for agriculture and exporters.

“We need supports for SMEs in vulnerable sectors; targeted capital investment in our ports, roads, rail and airports; supports for public services and workers’ rights; and protections for the north and the Good Friday Agreement.

“Enterprise Ireland has admitted that up to 25,000 jobs could be lost under a no-deal scenario, yet the government’s approach so far has been to treat online surveys and information stalls as a viable response to this very real threat.

“This is not good enough. We need proper solutions and a proper approach.

“This means taking on board the concerns of stakeholders, mitigating where possible the effects of Brexit, and investing in the future to overcome the structural changes in supply and trade that Brexit will bring.

“Sinn Féin’s plan will address these structural issues, while mitigating the short-term effects of Brexit on our exporters. No more surveys. The time for action is now.” 

Note: Please see the aforementioned Brexit document attached

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