Stark warnings of the dangers of a “no-deal” Brexit were voiced by speakers at the British Irish Chamber of Commerce Annual Gala Dinner in the Intercontinental Hotel this evening.
The event, sponsored by Bank of Ireland featured keynote addresses from Bank of Ireland Group CEO, Francesca McDonagh and former UK Ambassador to the EU, Sir Ivan Rogers.
Speaking to five hundred business leaders, Ms McDonagh said “Well over €1 billion in goods and services are traded between Ireland and the UK every single week – more than €170 million for every day of the year. No one relishes the prospect of the important relationship between Ireland and the UK being undermined economically. One of the ways of dealing with the challenges we face will be to have more engagement, and this underpins the importance of this event. The time ahead calls for as much cool and calm rhetoric as we can muster – as the issues that are being discussed are fundamentally important ones, to the peace, prosperity and well-being of the people of these islands.”
In his address, Sir Ivan cautioned against a “no-deal Brexit” which could bring key sectors of the economy to a halt.
“We face a critical few months in the Brexit process, and the potential for a severe political crisis between the UK and the EU, as well as for domestic British political turmoil, on a scale we have not seen since the War”, he said.
He further went on to say “We need a great deal of wisdom to be shown on all sides if we are to avoid, over Brexit, the sort of bitterness which this Continent thought it had left behind for good. All sides need a stable, amicable post Brexit settlement, not an endless toxic running battle and any Brexit deal which was widely perceived as a humiliation in the UK, will not be a stable, lasting one.”
President of the British Irish Chamber, John Cronin concluded “For business and trade organisations in Ireland and the UK, there is real concern that the uncertainty of the journey and the outcome of Brexit will damage or imperil existing Ireland-UK trade, hinder or stifle growth and limit business opportunities.
“It is the Chamber’s wish to make a positive contribution to the debate on the future EU-UK trading relationship post-Brexit and we also seek to ensure that Ireland-UK trade is not endangered but rather encouraged to build on the last decade’s extraordinarily successful growth.”