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Government must do more to protect all-Ireland trade from Brexit – Quinlivan

19 October, 2016 - by Maurice Quinlivan TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Maurice Quinlivan TD has called on the government to live up to its responsibilities under the Good Friday Agreement and to protect the future of cross-border trade.

Speaking following presentations to the Joint Committee on Jobs Enterprise and Innovation on Brexit from the IDA, Enterprise Ireland and InterTrade Ireland, Deputy Quinlivan said:

“I am concerned that the Minister for Jobs Mary Mitchell O’Connor and the government in general are not doing enough to protect the all-Ireland economy from the fallout of Brexit.

“Cross border trade in goods and services on the island has grown exponentially over the past 20 years and now stands at £5 billion Sterling or €6bn Euros.

“Inter-Trade Ireland was set-up as part of the Good Friday Agreement in 1999.

“It has given advice to over 32,000 SME’s and financially supported over 6,000, creating over 9,000 jobs and generating over €1bn of value in participating companies which is a return on expenditure of 12 to 1.  

“Brexit has dramatically altered the prospects for the north’s economic development and Inter-Trade Ireland as the body responsible for the promotion of cross border trade now finds itself in new and unchartered territory.   

“The government should be proactive and provide InterTrade Ireland with additional resources to tackle increased demand on its services as a result of Brexit.

“It has obligations under the GFA and it also needs to protect all-Ireland trade. For example in the Agri-Food sector, 40% of milk from the north goes south, while 40% of pigs from the south currently go north.

“The government does not have a strategy to protect cross border trade, the Agri-Food sector, and the border counties from Brexit.

“Their failure to act is bad for the north and bad for the all-Ireland economy.

“The nature of Brexit will have a differential impact on cross-border trade and the government must prepare for this.” 

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