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Brexit - Need to know

The Irish Question: Brexit, business and the future of UK-Ireland relations

15 Dec 2016

Republic of Ireland birds eye view

Brexit poses both opportunities and challenges for the UK. Perhaps the most cumbersome legislative task for any British administration in history, the task of withdrawing the United Kingdom from the European Union will take time and careful consideration. One of the most difficult challenges for the UK government will be addressing the unique complexities presented by Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another country. That country, the Republic of Ireland, will continue to be a member of the European Union after the UK leaves. The shared history of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland therefore makes the considerations around Brexit for Northern Ireland especially important.

Since 1973, when both countries joined the EU’s precursor, the European Economic Community (EEC), businesses in the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom have become entwined. The UK leaving the European Union implies significant changes for these businesses and both countries’ economies. In that sense, Northern Ireland will be the litmus test for Brexit. If the UK and Ireland can manage to overcome the many intricate and complicated difficulties Northern Ireland presents for Brexit, then the UK government will have gone a long way to ensuring the best possible outcome of Brexit for the whole United Kingdom.

This paper details the perspective of the members of IoD UK and IoD Ireland on these implications. The paper sets out the peculiarities of Brexit for Northern Irish businesses and the Northern Irish economy. It highlights a number of issues and concerns which the UK government will need to bear in mind when negotiating this country's withdrawal from the European Union. The paper aims to inform and advise the government of the concerns of IoD members so as to enable the government to begin their withdrawal negotiations from the best possible position of knowledge and understanding.

Read full report here

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