Belfast Telegraph

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Bulk of Irish exporters 'still not ready for a hard Brexit': report

By Colm Kelpie

The majority of exporting firms in the Republic are still not prepared for the UK's exit from the EU, according to a new survey.

And the head of Enterprise Ireland has said she has no cause for optimism over Brexit.

Julie Sinnamon said firms have been in denial and warned that they must start planning for a hard Brexit. She said the Brexit impact here is the most significant change for businesses ever seen.

"I have no reason for optimism," Ms Sinnamon said. "I think there is so much up in the air and there are positions being taken by people.

"I don't have any warm feeling that it will be alright on the night and we should just forget about this.

"I actually think that we absolutely need to plan for a hard Brexit and we don't know where it will end up."

Ms Sinnamon said earlier in the year that with the triggering of Article 50 last March, businesses were beginning to wake up to the reality that Brexit was going to happen.

But a survey released by the state agency yesterday shows that the numbers putting preparations in place are in the minority. The survey found that in the last six months, just 38% have taken measures to respond to Brexit, with 62% doing nothing.

"The figure is probably lower than I expected, just from the level of engagement that we've had," Ms Sinnamon said.

Exporters have been the early casualties of the Brexit vote, due to sterling's dramatic devaluation in the wake of the referendum last June.

Although it had settled around the 85p mark to the euro, it moved above 90p in recent weeks heaping further pressure on those selling into the UK market.

Belfast Telegraph

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