Cork Chamber is warning businesses that ‘keeping the head in the sand is no longer an option’ when it comes to Brexit.
With less than 100 days left before Britain leaves the EU, on March 29 2019, there is still no clarity as the what the exit will look like. UK Prime Minister Theresa May has negotiated a deal with the EU but looks to have little hope of getting it through her own parliament. With British MPs not due to vote on the issue for another two weeks, plans are being stepped up on all sides for a potential ‘no-deal’ Brexit.
“I think Brexit has to be a massive concern and I would still have concerns about the number of Irish businesses that are credibly and realistically planning for no-deal scenarios,” Thomas McHugh, Director of Public Affairs with Cork Chamber, said.
“There is a lot of potential for businesses to really get themselves up to speed over the next three months and keeping the head in the sand is no longer an option as we approach that pinch point.
“It is absolutely essential that businesses make use of the tools available to them.”
Among the supports he is recommending is the Enterprise Ireland Brexit Scorecard - a free interactive online platform which can be used by all Irish companies to self-assess their exposure to Brexit under six business pillars. Enterprise Ireland describe it as the ‘first step towards preparing for Brexit and developing a robust Brexit plan’.
“Despite the uncertainty, Irish companies can and should be taking immediate action to mitigate the potential risks and position themselves to take advantage of the opportunities,” Enterprise Ireland say.
Once companies have assessed their current readiness, they can use other Government supports to put themselves in a stronger position. These include grants, courses and consultancy, all available at Enterprise Ireland’s dedicated website www.prepareforbrexit.com.
“Unless companies use [the supports], engage with it and spend some time planning they won’t understand the impacts,” Mr McHugh said. “It is absolutely essential.”
He points out that businesses could be affected by a number of different issues related to Brexit - from access to customers and/or supply chains to currency fluctuations.
“There are so many variables it would be negligent for businesses to be taking it very seriously at this stage,” he said. “In the next three months we will have a big push to make sure businesses are educating themselves.
We can motivate but it is down to every business owner to make that call.”