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18 May, 2017 – Future trading models and good Brexit deals were the subjects for discussion by experts and business leaders from both sides of the Irish Sea at this morning’s “Brexit: Preparing for Change” seminar hosted by the British Irish Chamber of Commerce in association with Eversheds Sutherland in the Minerva Suite of the RDS, Dublin. 

The seminar was opened by the Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D. who spoke of the work that has been undertaken by the Government to date on Brexit and the awareness across the EU of the Irish situation which has been reflected in the EU’s negotiation guidelines. The Taoiseach also outlined that the Government will be intensifying its focus on the economic implications of Brexit which will include introducing new measures to ensure competitiveness is maintained, opportunities are won and that ultimately the economy is protected from potential negative impacts.  

The seminar included two panel discussions, each preceded by a short presentation setting the scene for the following discussion.

Panel one began with a presentation by Professor Joseph McMahon, Dean, UCD Sutherland School of Law who outlined what future trading arrangements would look like should they revert to WTO rules. The discussion that followed focused on the tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade that businesses could expect to face should the UK leave the Single Market and Customs Union without any future trading arrangement agreed.

Panel two started with a presentation by Dr Edgar Morgenroth of the ESRI on the macro economic implications for Ireland of a hard Brexit. This was followed by a discussion on what a good Brexit deal for Ireland looks like and how the Government can go about achieving this.

Speaking at the event the Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D said: “The implications for Ireland of the UK’s decision to leave the EU are well understood by Government. Immediately following the UK’s decision, the Government embarked upon an intensive and extensive programme of engagement on the island of Ireland, with the EU and with the UK.

“This programme of work has ensured that the importance of Ireland’s priorities for the Brexit negotiations are now reflected in the EU’s Negotiating Guidelines. The Government will continue to ensure that our priorities remain to the fore throughout the negotiation process as we work towards a comprehensive deal that is fair to all, while maintaining a strong focus on equipping the country to deal with the economic implications of Brexit.”

Speaking at the seminar, Director General of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce John McGrane said: “This is just the latest event hosted by the Chamber that delivers key information on the Brexit process and looks at what needs to be done to ensure that trade between the UK and Ireland can continue to flourish both through the negotiation period and beyond.

“Now that Article 50 has been triggered the conversation must move on to solutions and I think events like this seminar today help with this process. The presentations by Professor Joe McMahon and Dr Morgenroth, and the ensuing discussion have clearly set out how damaging trading under WTO rules could be for the Irish economy.

“The Chamber has long said that a bad deal for the UK will be a bad deal for Ireland and we must now look at working out a deal that will benefit all while ensuring Ireland meets its obligations as a committed EU Member.”

Ros Kellaway, Partner and Head of the EU Competition and Regulatory Group at Eversheds Sutherland (UK) said: “The British Prime Minister, in her letter to President Tusk, said that the United Kingdom “wants to make sure that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU does not harm the Republic of Ireland”.  In its negotiating guidelines, the EU has highlighted that the withdrawal agreement “should also address issues arising from Ireland’s unique geographic situation, including transit of goods (to and from Ireland via the United Kingdom).”  It remains to be seen whether these objectives can be achieved by a quick free trade agreement or in the withdrawal agreement itself.”


Read the full text of the Taoiseach’s speech here

For further information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Q4 Public Relations

Nora Eastwood / 087 175 4149 /

Notes to Editor

Please see list of speakers from the event below.

Panel 1 Participants:

  • Owen Brennan, Executive Chairman, Devenish Nutrition
  • Tony Buckley, Assistant Secretary, Corporate Affairs & Customs, Revenue
  • Ros Kellaway, Partner and Head of the EU Competition and Regulatory Group  Eversheds Sutherland (UK)
  • Professor Joseph A. McMahon, Dean, UCD Sutherland School of Law
  • Sean Ryan, Partner, Corporate and Commercial, Eversheds Sutherland (Irl)

 Panel 2 Participants:

  • Pat Cox, Former President of the European Parliament
  • Stephen Donnelly TD, Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Brexit
  • John McGrane, British Irish Chamber of Commerce
  • Ann McGregor, NI Chamber of Commerce
  • Edgar Morgenroth, ESRI

About the British Irish Chamber of Commerce

The British Irish Chamber of Commerce is a private sector trade organisation, founded in 2011 to represent businesses and employers with interests in the two islands of Great Britain and Ireland. The Chamber’s mission is to highlight, protect and grow the trade between Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. That trade is worth €1.3 billion a week or €60 billion a year and it supports 400,000 jobs, about evenly between the two islands.

About Eversheds Sutherland

Eversheds Sutherland is the only international law firm with an all-Ireland and UK presence. With 61 offices in 29 countries, we provide unrivalled access to Europe, the US, the Middle East and Africa. Our dedicated team, based in the commercial heart of Dublin, gives you a single point of contact for all your legal issues, regardless of size, nature, or jurisdiction. We build lasting client relationships that grow with your business.

Whether your commercial ambitions are focused on Ireland or you’re looking to grow internationally, we have the innovative advice, knowledge and resources to help make it happen.


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