Belfast Telegraph

Hard Brexit is still on the table, says deputy governor of Central Bank of Ireland

Ed Sibley
Ed Sibley

There is a still a real risk of a hard Brexit despite the EU having agreed to extend the UK's exit date, the deputy governor of the Central Bank of Ireland has said.

Ed Sibley said the agreement negotiated by Boris Johnson and the EU would cause "increased complexity" in cross-border trade.

Mr Sibley said that officials must prepare for a situation in which the UK leaves the EU without agreeing a deal.

The Brexit extension agreed earlier this week stopped the UK from leaving under such circumstances.

However, with the UK due to hold an election, Mr Sibley said the outcome of the Brexit process is still uncertain.

Speaking on Wednesday at the DCU Brexit Institute, he said: "While we may be reaching the end of the beginning, a hard Brexit is still sufficiently plausible to require planning for. Hard work needs to continue, ensuring that we remain sufficiently focused on wider implications of Brexit, and changing European dynamics.

"Further work is still required by all to reduce risks arising from the UK’s departure," he said.

"The proposed departure agreement outlines probable increasing complexity in cross border trade across range of sectors. Even if ratified, the current proposed deal will have economic impacts and affect the provision of financial services across the EU."

In the event of a hard Brexit, Mr Sibley said companies with UK operations would not be able to "passport" services from the UK and Gibraltar to customers in Ireland.

"Passporting" is a process which allows financial services companies in the EU to trade easily with each other.

"Further, the close connections between the UK and Irish systems mean that some ‘cliff edge’ risks of a hard Brexit remain," said Mr Sibley.

"Frictions, costs and some reduction in supply of financial services from UK and Gibraltar based firms are inevitable.

"We continue to engage with European, UK and Gibraltar supervisory authorities to ensure firms providing financial services into Ireland after Brexit are taking action to mitigate these risks and are communicating with consumers," said Mr Sibley.

The Central Bank of Ireland has warned that a hard Brexit would wipe out Ireland’s economic growth for a year. They've said as many as 85,000 jobs could be lost in the medium term.

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