Charlie Flannagan, TD
There was standing room only to hear a panel discussion at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Dublin today hosted by the British Irish Chamber of Commerce on the effects that a possible Brexit would have on Irish business, with representation from either side of the ‘Brexit or Bremain’ debate travelling from London for the first discussion of its kind in Dublin. Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan TD delivered the opening address to over one hundred invited business guests, highlighting the importance of close trading ties between Britain and Ireland
Making EU more business friendly
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan TD said: “We have a great deal at stake. British membership of the EU matters more for Ireland than for any other Member State. We need to carve out a constructive, if respectful, role for ourselves. The UK can count on Irish support at the Brussels negotiating table when it comes to so much of Prime Minister Cameron’s reform agenda. We want less red tape for SMEs. We want more free trade agreements. We want to complete the digital single market. We want to make the EU even more business-friendly than it is already.”
EU is an institution that is not delivering
Alex Story, Head of Business for Britain, and an ardent campaigner for a Brexit told attendees: “The European Union is an institution that is not delivering in practice what it wants to deliver in theory. The euro is an experimental currency that doesn’t work. Britain will always be in Europe, it does not need to be in the European Union.”
Peter Wilding, Founder and Director General of ‘British Influence’ stated that Brexit would amount to ‘a socio-economic suicide note’, and said that if David Cameron wanted to ensure a successful legacy he needs to ‘create a bigger vision for Britain’. He said that those in favour of a Brexit were currently winning the battle for hearts and minds.
Professor Alan Barrett, Director of ESRI said that the outcome of the referendum was currently on a knife-edge.
The UK and Ireland are joined at the economic hip
John McGrane, Director General of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce said: “The UK and Ireland are joined at the economic hip. The Chamber’s member firms range from small businesses with ambition to grow sales in their neighbouring country as easily as if it were their neighbouring county, through to larger enterprises and all the way up to global firms employing over 2 million people including many in both Britain and Ireland. Many are indeed critical of the deficiencies of the EU model in terms of red tape and frustrating slowness in bringing about a genuine single market fit to compete for global trade and investment. But nobody believes Europe will be stronger without the people and the businesses of the United Kingdom.”
On the panel were:
- Peter Wilding, Founder and Director General of ‘British Influence’
- Alex Story, Head of Business for Britain
- Professor Alan Barrett, Director of ESRI
- European Lawyer, Philip Lee
- Roisin Hogan, Irish Food Entrepreneur
The event was facilitated by RTÉ business journalist, Emma McNamara.
Launch of regional briefings
The Minister also launched a partnership between the Chamber and the Institute of Certified Public Accountants, where a series of regional briefings on the issues surrounding the UK Referendum on EU membership will be held, to promote engagement on the issue among the 60,000 SMEs across Ireland serviced by the CPA Institute’s members.
About The British Irish Chamber of Commerce
The British Irish Chamber of Commerce represents businesses with interests across both islands and will continue to support the work of both the Irish and British governments to promote the value of trade between the two nations.