Written answers

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Brexit Issues

Photo of Neale RichmondNeale Richmond (Dublin Rathdown, Fine Gael)
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135. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the industries his Department is of the view are most at risk from the ill-effects of Brexit, deal or no-deal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43169/20]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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In 2018, my Department published a Report entitled "Strategic Implications for Ireland arising from changing EU-UK trading relations". The study undertaken by Copenhagen Economics examined the implications of Brexit for the Irish economy and trade, quantifying the impact of possible new barriers to trade which might emerge due to Brexit.

The study examined the likely impact of Brexit on key sectors of the Irish economy and identified five sectors that account for 90% of the Brexit impact. These are: Agri-Food, Pharma-Chemicals, Electrical Machinery, Wholesale & Retail, and Air Transport.

Of these five sectors, the Agri-Food sector was shown to be the most impacted in both a trade deal or no-deal scenario. In a no-deal, WTO scenario, over half of the economic impact relates to the Agri-Food and Pharma-Chemicals sectors.

This trade analysis was undertaken on the basis of no policy change by Government in terms of mitigation actions to cushion the impacts of Brexit. Of course in the last four budgets, Government has put in place significant measures to cushion the impact of Brexit across all sectors of the economy.

Over the last four budgets, through the enterprise agencies, I have put in place an extensive suite of enterprise supports to assist businesses to meet the challenges presented by Brexit. They range from liquidity supports through short-term and long-term loans, to restructuring aid for businesses in severe operating difficulties. The majority of enterprise supports are open to all businesses, including SMEs, and not just those that are clients of the enterprise agencies.

Budget 2021 allocated unprecedented resources to confronting the twin challenges of COVID-19 and Brexit, with €340 million to be spent on Brexit-related measures. Government has also provided for a €3.4 billion recovery fund to assist businesses in the aftermath of COVID-19 and Brexit. A full list of enterprise and financial supports is available on my Department’s website at www.dbei.gov.ie and on www.Gov.ie/Brexit.

Notwithstanding the overall negative impact on the economy, IDA Ireland has been working hard to capture any possible increase in investment in Ireland as a result of Brexit. This work has resulted in 94 Brexit-related investments to date with an associated employment potential of more than 6,000. Two-thirds of these investments are in the International Financial Services sector with the remaining third spread out over the Life Sciences, Technology, Business Services, and Engineering sectors. While this is good news, it by no means makes up for the negatives and the expected difficulties that businesses, particularly those that trade with Britain, will face as a result of Brexit.


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