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Where is the DUP's strategy for mitigating the potentially disastrous consequences of Brexit?

Letter of the day: business fears

I was rather interested (but not really surprised) to learn from reading a recent news report that 100,000 UK companies (including my own Medtech firm) have registered businesses in Ireland since last year's vote to leave the European Union.

In February this year, Stephen Kelly, chief executive of campaigning organisation Manufacturing Northern Ireland, told a House of Commons committee that UK companies were registering in Ireland as hedges "against worst-case scenarios, if they develop".

Speaking to the Commons' Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, he said the numbers displayed the anxiety felt by UK companies about their future access to EU markets.

Praising the Irish government's response to Brexit,he added that Dublin was displaying a "single-team approach" to dealing with the challenges. Commenting on the Dublin Castle Brexit forum, he said it showed " a very positive attitude that Ireland is poised to benefit from this".

One of Northern Ireland's largest manufacturers has already told MPs it made a decision within two weeks of the Brexit vote to build a factory across the border in Dundalk.

The Craigavon-based Almac Group, a pharmaceutical firm employing 2,600 people, said its worldwide clients wanted to know what regulatory regime would be in place after Brexit.

When I visited some potential business units near Dublin Airport over two years ago, most of them were still empty. When I visited them again earlier this year, they were nearly all full. Luckily, I managed to secure one for my own business, which exports 85% of its products to EU countries.

My question is, why, instead of blindly supporting Brexit to the hilt, have the DUP not developed a clearly defined strategy for Northern Ireland to anticipate the implications of Brexit for Northern Ireland businesses?

They appear to me to be rather like lemmings jumping over a disastrous economic precipice.


Strangford, Co Down

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