Ireland’s economy survived Brexit but may not survive Covid-19

Daniel Phelan

The positive economic growth Ireland has experienced despite Brexit is expected to slow in coming years, according to experts.

The Central Bank has described Ireland’s economic performance amidst Brexit as “broadly positive,” with their quarterly bulletin showing that Ireland is nearing full employment. 

Mark Cassidy, Director of economics and statistics at the Central Bank said that such growth is expected to slow down.

“While the economy has been growing strongly in recent years, the pace of that expansion is likely to slow down,” said Cassidy. 

Giovanni Zaccaroni, a postdoctoral researcher at Dublin City University who has also worked with the Brexit Institute raised concern about what the Co-vid 19 global pandemic may mean for the Irish economy.

“Now with Co-vid 19 everything is changed. Many states will be affected, The U.K. and Ireland included, and this will most likely reduce the positive margin for Ireland to take over some of the U.K’s leading role in the EU single market,” he said.

However, there may be some scope for the Irish economy to capitalise, “hypothetically there is space for Irish businesses to exploit U.K. withdrawal [from the EU single market] but now the pandemic makes everything more complicated. Although, of course, nothing is decided yet,” he said.

Some of the growth Ireland has seen is down to the U.K. goods and services being excluded by the EU single market unless a specific agreement is arranged, allowing the possibility for Ireland to fill the gap.

Speaking on possible concerns in the upcoming months, Zaccaroni said: “of course the negotiations and how the current Co-vid stall will affect them. I think at this point an extension of the transition is more likely, although, we cannot exclude the U.K. to go fully on its own way. Ireland has space to grow because of its EU Membership but overall although likely to bring a positive outcome for certain Member States, Brexit is not a process to rejoice.” 

The ongoing pandemic aside, Gabriel Makhlouf, the European Central Bank governor, said any economic impact of a trade deal will hinge on “how close or far” from the current proposed arrangement both of the parties currently are. 

Makhlouf added that the coronavirus only “adds to already existing uncertainties” globally.

Daniel Phelan

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