Northern Ireland

Brexit: Irish companies' alarmed by threat of no-deal

Map of Ireland with border drawn on Image copyright Getty Images

Ireland's largest business body has said there is an enormous sense of alarm among its members at the prospect of a no-deal Brexit.

IBEC represents about 7,500 companies across the Republic.

Arnold Dillon told BBC NI's Inside Business programme that it would be incredibly difficult to put in place contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit.

The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March, under the Article 50 process and the UK's EU Withdrawal Act.

It will do so with or without a deal, unless the UK chooses to revoke Article 50, or extend it with the support of the remaining member states.

'Close to the wire'

Mr Dillon said that Irish companies have plans in place around potentially having to handle supply chain disruption, regulatory impacts, or storage issues that might arise.

However he added: "The idea that companies could have sophisticated contingency plans in place that would account for a scenario where tariffs of up to 40% or 50% would be suddenly imposed overnight, are really difficult to put in place.

"From a business perspective, here obviously there is a sense of enormous alarm that we are coming so close to the wire, with still no clarity.

"Obviously, we are looking at the political system and Westminster, to try and come up with some form of proposition and solution that will deliver, either something akin to the Withdrawal Agreement that is out there, or potentially even a softer Brexit."

Inside Business is broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster on Sundays at 1330 BST and on Mondays at 1830 BST.