Northern Irish firms considering opening in Republic after Brexit, analysts say
Twenty businesses are considering relocating part of their work outside Northern Ireland because of Brexit, it was revealed.
Firms are thinking about starting up in the Republic where they will have an EU foothold after the UK leaves in 2019, economic analysts said.
Uncertainty over the terms of the exit means many are putting plans for growth on hold, a survey from the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce showed.
Brian Murphy, a partner at BDO Northern Ireland business advisers, said: "Companies have set up companies in the Republic as a precaution, we don't want to see that precaution turning into a reality."
He added that it could bleed workers, productivity and jobs from Northern Ireland, saying: "We need to nip that in the bud. We need a functioning government that will fight our corner.
"At the minute we just seem to have nonsense exchanged back and forth."
Industry leaders have urged Stormont's quarrelling politicians to put aside their differences to ensure Northern Ireland's voice is heard as UK negotiations with Brussels continue.
The Executive has not sat since January after deputy first minister Martin McGuinness resigned in protest over the DUP's handling of the botched Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme.
Ann McGregor, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, urged politicians to resolve their differences and focus on the challenges ahead.
She said no firm direction had been given on how future relations between the UK and EU will work.
Ms McGregor said: "They are effectively shadow boxing in an atmosphere of uncertainty which, for many, means putting plans for growth on hold.
"Added to this, without an Executive in place and talks between Northern Ireland's two main political parties on hold, Northern Ireland remains outside the critical discussions on Brexit.
"There are major issues for the local economy to face, the lack of an Executive at Stormont is becoming increasingly frustrating.
"In what is becoming a tired plea, we ask that our parties resume talks and reach a positive outcome as soon as possible."