Posted on Thursday 23 May 2019 by John Mulgrew

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A ‘no deal’ Brexit and a hard border would be a “wrecking ball” and almost three years without an Executive could cost the Northern Ireland economy £1bn, a top business chief has warned.

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI director general, has called on politicians to ensure power-sharing talks do not break down into further stalemate and deadlock.

According to the CBI, new analysis has said that if the Northern Ireland Executive is not restored by the end of 2019, the total loss to economic output here could be approximately £940m.

Ms Fairbairn was speaking at the CBI Northern Ireland Annual Dinner at the ICC Belfast.

“Business is crying out for compromise because the cost of failure now would be so great,” she said.

“This money could help fix roads, eradicate waiting lists in Northern Irish hospitals or transform education in primary and secondary schools. Restoring power to Stormont is the only way to do achieve this. What was once pressing is now desperately urgent.”

And on the UK’s exit from the EU, she said “the cost of a no-deal Brexit could be equivalent to over 10% of Northern Ireland’s economy”. “Then there is the cost of potential tariffs and the damage of no-deal Brexit for Northern Ireland’s many current strengths as a place to invest.”

Adrian Doran, Northern Ireland head of corporate Banking at Barclays, said:

“Never before has the need been so great, for the voice of Northern Ireland business to be heard.  And it has been heard, very clearly, thanks to the determination of the CBI, working in partnership with leaders in retail, small business, manufacturing, and the many local companies who are the cornerstones of this economy.

“Despite the challenges highlighted by the CBI, business here has continued to thrive. Companies are to be applauded for their ambition, innovation and resilience. There is, however, still much more to be done if Northern Ireland is to fully achieve its undoubted potential.” 



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