Will business in Ireland suffer from a hard Brexit?

The news across Ireland and the UK have been fairly dominated by talk of Brexit, and it’s not difficult to see why. If Brexit goes badly, and it is not possible to agree a deal between the UK government and the remainder of the EU, there will be economic consequences for both the UK and Ireland. In this article, we will examine the consequences that could lie in store for businesses across Ireland, if a hard Brexit is the result of the negotiations.

While most media attention has naturally focused on the consequences of a hard Brexit on the UK, most statistics show that the Irish economy is almost equally exposed. The Irish economy is predicted to contract by only 0.1% less than the economy of the UK in the event of the UK leaving the European Union without a deal. This would mean that Irish farmers and other businesses would be unable to export goods freely to the UK in the same way that they currently are. While the UK has suggested that Irish goods may get special treatment or even that they may choose to wave through all foreign goods for a period of time, there is no guarantee that this would actually happen, and some sources speculate that such a policy, particularly if it were selective on the basis of the origin of a product, would be in breach of WTO rules and regulations.

There is also the question of what would happen to UK workers in Irish businesses who currently have the right to work in Ireland on the back of their EU citizenship. Again, it is not clear whether a new rule would be patched together to allow the situation to continue as is in the event of no deal, or whether sweeping changes would happen regardless of the intent of both governments.