Offaly TD says government must protect businesses from hard Brexit

Justin Kelly

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Justin Kelly

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justin.kelly@iconicnews.ie

Offaly TD says government must protect businesses from hard Brexit

Offaly TD says government must protect businesses from hard Brexit

Fianna Fáil TD for Offaly Barry Cowen has called on the Government to activate all contingencies to protect businesses across the country from hard Brexit.

Deputy Cowen was commenting as a number of PQ responses provided to Fianna Fáil reveal that the Government has yet to formally make a request at EU level for changes to be made to State aid ceilings to protect Irish enterprises and exporting companies from a no-deal Brexit scenario.

Deputy Cowen explained, "I find the lack of urgency with which the government is activating contingency plans to protect exposed businesses from a hard Brexit very concerning. Brexit day is creeping closer and despite months and months of negotiations between the EU and the UK, we are still none the wiser."

"The government appears to have made no application to the EU to change the State aid ceilings, as it is entitled to do under Article 107 of the EU Treaties, which empowers the Commission to declare State aid compatible with the common market “to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State," he said.

"If this article was invoked, the government would be able to introduce a higher level of grant aid for support schemes to vulnerable export businesses in exposed sectors.  Given that we are facing the real prospect of a no-deal Brexit; this represents a colossal disturbance to the Irish economy."

"Ireland should immediately seek approval at EU level for current State aid rules to be adapted for a temporary period, even at this late stage it would make a huge difference to small and medium businesses that need every effort to be made to secure support for them to protect them from a hard Brexit," concluded Deputy Cowen.