Brexit is already presenting massive challenges for Ireland in terms of cross border trade, business and commerce and the challenges are most obvious in border counties, according to Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy.
He was speaking at the launch of a new discussion document A United Ireland – Better for Jobs, Enterprise and Research, outlining how a United Ireland would benefit enterprise and businesses across the island.
The launch in Dundalk was also addressed by Sinn Fein’s Enterprise Spokespersons Maurice Quinlivan TD and Megan Fearon MLA.
While Carthy said that Brexit was putting jobs, investment Irish agricultural at risk, he said the reality was that the Border had long been an economic disaster for Ireland, North and South.
Matt Carthy said:
The challenges of Brexit are most obvious in border counties, where there is real concern amongst the business community. Many are already being affected. But the reality was that the border had long been an economic disaster for Ireland, North and South The economy across the island of Ireland is interdependent.
“Regardless of Brexit, continued Back-to-back development and wasteful duplication serve nobody, in either jurisdiction. It is also becoming clearer by the day that a united Ireland will benefit all the people of the whole island including, very importantly, in economic terms.
He said the Sinn Féin discussion document demonstratedhow Irish unity would unlock the real economic potential of the whole island, acting as a huge spur for economic growth leading to more jobs and improved living standards.
“Research has repeatedly demonstrated that in terms of synergies, economies of scale and infrastructural development, a united Ireland makes economic sense.
“There are simply no advantages for an island nation of 6.4 million inhabitants having two separate tax regimes, legal systems, and competing economic development programmes.”
He said a United Ireland would deliver sustainable economic growth and employment throughout and would particularly benefit border areas.
“Full economic integration would allow for fair and progressive taxation, regulation and trade. It would provide the tools for growth, employment and a better business climate across the island.
“A united Ireland would bring economic stability and create an environment in which business can thrive. It would replace competition with cooperation, maximise inward investment and tourism, and promote Irish products, produce and business.
“Irish unity can unleash the true potential of Irish enterprise and innovation.”
Newry/Armagh MLA Megan Fearon said Brexit had exposed the folly of Partition which that separated natural communities and economies, and that a United Ireland would remove barriers to trade, including the impact of currency fluctuations.
“One of the benefits of economic unification would be a more stable, balanced and diverse economy. t would address weaknesses and risks which currently leave each individual jurisdiction subject to potential external shocks in the financial and other sectors.
“At present, differing bodies compete to market Ireland for inward investment. This duplication incurs administration costs and the false competition drives down the benefits of investments as investors play the North against the South and vice versa.
“We need a single, island-wide agency and policy to drive investment and integrate the current efforts of the IDA, InvestNI and Enterprise Ireland.
“Sinn Féin is convinced that a strong United Ireland economy can enable sustainable growth, deliver meaningful employment, facilitate balanced regional development and provide greater income equality.”
Limerick City TD and Sinn Féin’s Dáil Spokesperson on Business, Enterprise and Innovation Maurice Quinlivan said Brexit had brought into sharp focus the benefits of Irish Unity.
“When Britain leaves the EU, all indications are that the economy will suffer heavily, jobs will be lost, enterprises will find it harder and more expensive to sell into the EU market and citizens’ will have less rights.
“The leaked Brexit impact report outlined a potential 12% decrease in GDP for the North of Ireland. This would result in thousands of job losses and set the economy back for years to come.
“I believe some people in the North, who were happy with the political status quo, will now be more tempted to listen to the benefits Irish Unity can bring, and strongly consider it.”
Quinlivan said the decision of people in the North to stay in the EU, was more in line with the rest of the electorate in Ireland than it is with an inward looking Tory agenda.
“It is therefore our job to outline to these people, the benefits a unified Ireland would bring and try and convince them that it will bring advantages to all sections of our society and economy.
“For our part, the best approach for facing the challenge of Brexit is the further development of the all-Ireland economy: a concerted political and civil society campaign to ensure that the north achieves a special status in the EU, and an all-Ireland based infrastructure plan on which a modern all-island economy can prosper and thrive.”
He said that harmonising the tax and legal regimes and eliminating currency volatility would allow SMEs, who traditionally avoided doing business in the other jurisdiction due to these differences, to expand their reach and market across the whole of Ireland.
“A single all-island economy would yield an increase in the direct contiguous market by some 1.8 million people in the South, and some 4.6 million for businesses in the North.”
Refering to the Modeling Irish Unification study by Professor Kurt Huebner, which estimatesd that a United Ireland could deliver a €35.6 billion boost in GDP, Quinlivan said the Irish government must start producing studies and plans in each area of the economy, setting out the impact a united Ireland would bring.
Concluding he said:
“This project, as stated is not supposed to be a blueprint or set plan, but rather an opportunity to begin to examine the benefits Irish Unity will bring to the area of jobs, enterprise and research.
“Irish Unity is not inevitable – we must work towards it – and convince people across the board of the benefits it could bring to all sections of our society and economy.”
*Please find attached a PDF of the document.