Over 100 days later, but what does Brexit mean for us?

The UK will soon be separate from the EU but the consequences are occurring already. Photo Credit: Lucian Milan

The impact of a country like the United Kingdom exiting the European Union is something that will be felt throughout the entire world. While the Sterling continues to sharply decrease in value, we here in Ireland are left wondering about what exactly is going to happen when our closest neighbours leave Europe.

A survey by the Institute of World Economics in July that surveyed 762 experts showed that Ireland would be placed into the ‘strong negative impact’ category for both short term and long term effects due to the UK exiting the European Union.

IBEC Chief Danny McCoy said that “our unique economic concerns need to be heard and fully understood, and our interests fully safeguarded in any final agreement. It is important that acrimony quickly gives way to pragmatism, and that a speedy, mutually beneficial arrangement between the EU and UK is reached.”

The Good Friday Agreement was signed to put rest to 30 years of conflict between Unionists and Republicans in Northern Ireland. It was agreed that a minority of Northern Ireland wished to be part of Ireland and the majority wanted to be with the UK. The view across the border in Ireland was the opposite, and it was agreed that until a majority from both sides wanted Northern and the Republic of Ireland to be united, they would remain separate.

Numerous political institutions were instated in order to deal with cross-border relations, but if a hard border is put in place, this will become difficult to do. One of the main reasons that The Good Friday Agreement was agreed to by Unionists in Northern Ireland was due to sharing a border with another EU country. When that disappears, the fear is that old feuds could be sparked.

All Irish ports and airports will have to be monitored far more carefully when the UK officially leaves, and customs procedures will have to be reintroduced to assure that nothing is amiss. MPs have expressed concerns of Ireland being used as a ‘backdoor’ for entry into the UK, something which will have to be monitored carefully. This of course will make travelling more difficult for us, adding to the pile of issues that we will already experience in the wake of Brexit.

Our tourism industry benefits massively from travellers from the UK, and it has been steadily rising over the past few years. With the devaluation of the Sterling, visiting Ireland is now more expensive for our neighbours which will bring about repercussions further down the line.

The Irish Hotel Association has expressed concerns over this, especially over the off-peak periods of the year when small businesses may struggle to make ends meet as a result. It was not so long ago since we were all counting our pennies in the midst of the recession and the fallout from Brexit will be an unpredictable rollercoaster that we are all just going to have to wait out.

Ailbhe Daly

Photo Credit: Lucian Milan

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