Northern Ireland

Brexit: Fewer NI manufacturing firms see it 'being a success'

Signs near Irish border Image copyright Reuters

The Northern Ireland manufacturing sector is showing "positive growth" but is getting more concerned by Brexit, according to a survey by a trade body.

Manufacturing NI said 6% of companies could see Brexit as "being a success" - down from 21% a year ago.

About 120 firms gave responses to the research, conducted in December by the law firm Tughans.

Manufacturing NI represents 550 companies.

It is one of a number of business bodies which has expressed backing for Theresa May's withdrawal deal.

It said Brexit uncertainty is the biggest issue facing a majority of its members.

With the UK's exit from the EU looming, 50% of respondents believe that it is already having "a negative impact" - up from 41% in May.

Stephen Kelly, chief executive of Manufacturing NI, said "very few are convinced of the arguments put forward by those promoting a no deal exit".

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Despite the political climate, many firms have been performing soundly.

The survey found 57% of firms have increased staffing, with 62% planning to take on more workers in the next year.

However, eight in 10 firms are reporting difficulties in recruiting.

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