Irish firms voice concerns about Brexit negotiations

Irish companies are concerned at the trajectory of Brexit talks and are planning for all eventualities, according to a new survey.

Customs and certification barriers, future regulatory divergence and exchange rate volatility are among the issues of most acute concern, Ibec has found.

The study also revealed that more than one in five firms have Brexit contingency plans already in place, while half will devise plans over the coming months despite the political agreement on a transition period to the end of 2020.

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The findings will be launched at the All-island civic Dialogue with Simon Coveney, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade in Dundalk on Monday.

Ibec CEO Danny McCoy said: "Business is actively working to support an outcome that delivers close EU-UK alignment into the future, but major obstacles exist.

"The type of EU-UK free trade agreement that currently seems likely would amount to a significant deterioration of the current economic relationship and would come with a heavy economic cost.

"It is crucial that a deal guaranteeing no hard border with Northern Ireland is significantly advanced over the coming weeks. Political commitments must now be given full legal force.

"The best way of avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland, and between the wider EU and UK, is for the UK to remain in a customs union, and for far-reaching regulatory alignment to continue.

"It is vital that the political obstacles to this mutually beneficial outcome are overcome."