| 8.4°C Belfast

Business closures, job losses, crime, heightened community tensions: Effect of no-deal Brexit on Northern Ireland laid bare



The effect of a no-deal Brexit on Northern Ireland has been revealed.

The effect of a no-deal Brexit on Northern Ireland has been revealed.

PA Archive/PA Images

The effect of a no-deal Brexit on Northern Ireland has been revealed.

The Government has admitted that the effects of a no-deal Brexit would be "more severe" and "last longer" in Northern Ireland than the rest of the UK.

The information was included in a government paper released by the Department for Exiting the European Union on Tuesday, warning of the implications for business and trade of a no-deal Brexit.

The paper revealed that the impact of a no-deal scenario in Northern Ireland would be "more severe" because of the shared land border with an EU country, the Republic of Ireland, and because of the lack of an Executive.

It reiterated the government's commitment to avoiding a hard border in Ireland "in any scenario".

The UK Government is planning to shortly publish "immediate, temporary, arrangements for trade between Northern Ireland and Ireland in a no deal scenario".

It also pledged to work "urgently" with the Irish Government and the EU to find a longer-term solution in the event of a no-deal.

The document warned that community tensions in Northern Ireland could be heightened and there could also be increases in crime and security issues.

"Groups could seek to exploit gaps in law enforcement and any divergence between Northern Ireland and Ireland, which may lead to increases in smuggling and associated criminality," the document said. 

It also warned that there would be a threat to the viability of many business across Northern Ireland due to the disruption of supply chains and increasing costs. This would then have a knock-on effect on the economy and unemployment.

Northern Ireland's economy could fall by 9.1% after around 15 years in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Any no-deal exit would also make attempts to restore power-sharing at Stormont less likely, the paper said.

The Single Electricity Market (SEM) between Northern Ireland and the Republic could also be affected.

The UK pledged to work with the Irish government to see a continuation of the service, but admitted that the UK could not control negotiations with Ireland or the EU.

As it stands the UK is set to leave the European Union without a deal on March 29.

Earlier Prime Minister Theresa May told the House of Commons that if her Brexit deal was rejected by the House of Commons on March 12, she would give MPs the option of delaying Brexit or leaving with no-deal.

Mrs May said the Government was publishing the paper assessing the readiness for a no-deal Brexit and the "very serious challenges" it would pose.

"I believe that if we have to, we will ultimately make a success of a no-deal," she told MPs.

"But this paper provides an honest assessment of the very serious challenges it would bring in the short-term and further reinforces why the best way for this House to honour the referendum result is to leave with a deal."

Belfast Telegraph