Stormont deadlock 'hindering formation of a Brexit plan'
Northern Ireland runs the risk of being "left behind" in Brexit preparations because of the absence of a devolved government, it has been claimed. Chartered Accountants Ireland (CAI) called on all the political parties to intensify their efforts to secure the future of power-sharing.
At its annual conference in Galway, CAI president Liam Lynch said: "In Northern Ireland, the fact that there is no devolved government is having an extremely detrimental effect on planning for Brexit.
"It is important that all institutions involved appreciate and address the extreme gravity of the negotiations and put aside posturing and politics to deal with the issues for the betterment of their constituents."
The organisation, which has more than 3,000 members in Northern Ireland, said politicians should resolve the deadlock for the sake of both jurisdictions on the island.
It added that Brexit negotiations between the UK and EU should be carried out in a "respectful" atmosphere.
Mr Lynch said: "The language used in the public utterances of several of the key figures suggests that there is a real possibility that the breaking of links between the UK and the EU will be sudden and final, without any phasing in or transitional arrangements.
"We must do everything we can to ensure that Irish business, north and south of the border, is prepared to handle Brexit shocks."
Brian Keegan, director of public policy and taxation, said the organisation wanted to help firms prepare for the future.
"We are looking for practical solutions to the issues raised by Brexit," he added.
"Our research shows that there is a knowledge deficit when it comes to dealing with the realities of cross-border trade and customs post-Brexit.
"We are working towards, and campaigning for, a programme of education and resourcing to assist smaller businesses in particular adapt to the UK's departure from the EU.
"Both Ireland and Europe will need to be open to fresh perspectives and bold ideas to ensure a successful transition."