Brexit stand-off alarming


  • Ibec meets senior players in talks process
  • Time running out but Government still hopeful solution can be found
  • Members urged to continue with contingency planning


The lack of progress in Brexit negotiations on the UK side is increasingly alarming, and the rhetoric from the ongoing Tory party conference provides little consolation. Over recent weeks Ibec has held separate meetings with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Tánaiste Simon Coveney and with the new President of the Confederation of British Industry John Allan to set out Irish business concerns and provide an update on how companies are responding.


The deadline for securing a deal on the withdrawal agreement is now very tight and the level of uncertainty is affecting business and investment decisions.


The Irish Government is very concerned that significant differences remain on the Northern Ireland ‘backstop’, but is confident a deal can be reached.


At the meetings, the Irish Government reiterated the need for a clearly-defined and binding agreement to guarantee no hard border on the island of Ireland. Ibec fully supports this and, as such, we hope and expect the EU-UK political accord reached last December to be given firm legal effect. Greater flexibility around the transition period will also be needed, but the political dynamic means this discussion will have to wait.


EU leaders will meet on 18/19 October to assess progress, but a breakthrough by then now seems unlikely. We are then looking at a possible meeting being called in November, or waiting for the next scheduled meeting of EU leaders in December, to sign off a deal. Worryingly, it is very difficult to predict how such a deal can come together, with the two sides so far apart on key issues.


While an EU-UK withdrawal deal is likely, business and government must plan for all eventualities, including ‘no deal’. As part of our work on contingency planning, we are running a workshop on Monday, 15 October, Brexit: Preparing for Change. Unfortunately, this event is now over-subscribed, but if you would like to be put on a waiting list please email


Our guide to Brexit planning, produced with Accenture, is available at dedicated website. We are looking at additional ways that we can assist companies in their planning and will keep you posted. If you have any queries please email Joanne Reynolds, Ibec communications and campaigns,

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