THE Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney TD highlighted the critical importance of the UK-Ireland economic relationship at the British Irish Chamber of Commerce annual networking dinner at the InterContinental Hotel, Dublin.
The inaugural ‘Business Beyond Brexit’ event sponsored by Ulster Bank brought together over 450 business, investment and political leaders from both sides of the Irish Sea to hear a Political Keynote Address from the Tánaiste in which he sought to provide reassurances of Ireland’s preparedness for the UK’s impending withdrawal from the EU. They also heard from Ulster Bank, CEO Jane Howard who spoke of the importance of the UK – Irish trade relationship and its importance for Business Beyond Brexit.
Delivering the Political Keynote Address, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney TD, said: “The UK has always been our most important trading partner, and we will ensure that we will continue to have a close relationship post Brexit. The government is working hard on contingency planning for Brexit with a particular focus on minimising the impact on our trade and economy. We remain focussed on securing the Withdrawal Agreement that would enable both sides to negotiate a future relationship between Ireland and the UK.” His address was followed by a Business Keynote Address from Jane Howard, CEO of Ulster Bank who said: “There is more to doing business in Ireland and Britain than Brexit. We will deal with it as best we can, but we also must not be blinded and distracted to the point that we lose sight of other challenges and other opportunities.
“I’ve seen ingenuity, creativity and passion in the Irish business community and it is this drive that has seen Ireland overcome some of the most difficult economic and social challenges. There is a resilience, a confidence and a capability that will be one of the main reasons we all eventually move beyond Brexit and thrive.” With the threat of a no-deal Brexit increasing and the UK Parliament seeking to gain consensus on a way forward, the President of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce John Cronin called on leaders to foster new business relationships that can grow and develop beyond Brexit.
John Cronin, President of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce said: “UK-Irish trade continues to be an important positive contributor to the economies of both islands. Regardless of what happens next, the UK will remain an important market for Irish firms and vice versa. The shared history, culture, business mindset and familial links underpins the strength of this relationship.
“Business is practical and apolitical. Once there is certainty around the next steps forward, businesses will respond in a pragmatic manner that will seek to ensure that trade, jobs and investment are not only protected, but can grow into the future. The British Irish Chamber has a role to play in this phase and will continue to support our members as they seek to secure their place and grow in the shared British-Irish business space.
“While relationships may have been tested over the recent past, they will endure and there is an opportunity to build new relationships as we move towards the next stage of the Brexit process.”