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Republic 'facing an economic aftershock if Leave wins'

By Colm Kelpie

The Republic of Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, and Cyprus are on the frontline of economies susceptible to aftershocks from a Brexit, Standard & Poor's (S&P) warned yesterday.

The ratings agency said there could be "significant reverberations" for Ireland's economy if British voters opted to pull out of the EU.

Polls show the rival Remain and Leave camps are almost neck-and-neck with slightly more than two weeks to go.

"At the least, were the UK to vote to leave the EU, the uncertainty regarding its new trade and migratory agreements with Europe would take its toll on merchandise, services and human capital, along the Republic of Ireland's 499km border with the UK," the report by S&P said.

"Ireland's financial sector exposure to the UK is also important, reflecting the size of Irish banking subsidiaries operating in the UK."

But the agency added it would expect the "highly flexible" Irish economy to be able to reorient trade towards larger trading partners, such as the remaining EU and the US, in the "unlikely" event that an exited UK would not be able to reach new terms on trade with EU negotiators.

"We also think Ireland would be well placed to attract some of the investment displaced out of a Brexited UK," it claimed.

Belfast Telegraph