Posted on Wednesday 16 January 2019 by John Mulgrew


Business groups have overwhelmingly raised concerns over crashing out of the EU without a deal after Prime Minister Theresa May’s withdrawal plan with Brussels was overwhelmingly rejected by MPs.

Ann McGregor, chief executive of Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry

“The business communities that we represent have always had a diverse range of views on what form the UK’s future relationship with the EU should take, however they do agree on the need to avoid a messy and disorderly Brexit.

“To achieve this we therefore need an agreement that will secure the transition period and protect jobs. As businesses wait to see what happens next in Parliament, it is crucial that those at Westminster move beyond tactical manoeuvring and look at all the options in order to avoid a ‘no deal’s scenario.

“Firms are in the dark on too many aspects of life after March 29. This has already led to many businesses taking action – pausing on recruitment and investment, stockpiling goods, and relocating factories in other parts of the EU. In fact, a third of NI Chamber members are currently putting growth and investment plans on hold in the absence of clarity from Westminster. There is however nothing to stop government acting decisively on areas within their control, such as migration and customs procedures.”


Aodhan Connolly, director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium

“The result this evening will be a cause for concern across the Northern Ireland business community. Northern Ireland businesses desperately need certainty about the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU and will be severely disadvantaged by a no deal. A no deal Brexit means that Northern Ireland households will face higher prices and less choice on the shelves something they can ill afford.

“Se need politicians  to coalesce around a workable solution that protects consumers from the costs and disruptions due to the loss of tariff-free and frictionless trade we currently enjoy with partners in the EU. We are now closer than ever to the possibility of a no-deal that will be a disaster for Northern Ireland.” “


Angela McGowan, CBI Northern Ireland director

“Every business will feel no deal is hurtling closer. A new plan is needed immediately. This is now a time for our politicians to make history as leaders. All MPs need to reflect on the need for compromise and to act at speed to protect the UK's economy.

“No deal would immediately put Northern Irish jobs and businesses at risk and jeopardise years of positive economic development and integration across the island.  It must be avoided to protect our all-island economy.”


Glyn Roberts, Retail NI chief executive

“This is a disappointing but not unexpected result. While the Prime Minister’s draft Withdrawal Bill was in no way perfect, it was definitely preferable to crashing out of the EU with no deal.

“The Government now needs to work on a cross-party basis with Labour and other opposition parties to reach a broader agreement for a withdrawal deal and secure the transition period, protect jobs and a positive future relationship with the EU


Colin Neill, chief executive, Hospitality Ulster

“Leaving the EU without a deal would damage the sustainability of the Hospitality industry and impact on the potential growth of Tourism in Northern Ireland. We appeal to our elected representatives to work together in a spirit of consensus government to ensure that a no deal scenario does not happen.”


Tina McKenzie, FSB NI policy chair

“With the clock ticking down to Brexit Day in just 10 weeks, we are running out of time to avoid a cliff-edge, no-deal outcome.

“A disorderly exit from the EU would be deeply damaging for small businesses, causing disruption to supply chains, increasing costs and stifling investment.

“A no-deal is something which we simply cannot countenance, so it is imperative that political leaders sharpen their focus and do all they can to reach agreement in the short time available.”




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