AS the classic pop song by Neil Sedaka reminds us, “breaking up is hard to do”.
Evidence of this has been rife in recent days after the United Kingdom dealt a hammer blow to the EU, voting to end its long-term relationship with its overbearing European partners.
And while the former sweethearts sort out the finer details of this momentous split, the world now waits with bated breath to see how the fallout of this tragic love story will impact on our everyday lives.
Hearts have been broken, emotions are running high, and dismay and anxiety abound as Britain and Brussels prepare for life apart.
But, while these crestfallen suitors divvy up their record collection and 2.3 kids, we must now live with the uncertainty created by the dissolution of their union.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan believes it could take months before we have any indication of Brexit’s medium term effect on Ireland.
It won’t, he said, affect the Irish budget in 2017, but may have some implications in budgets to come.
“There is nothing catastrophic for Irish fiscal policy on the horizon but there is the possibility of having less resources in 2019/20/21. But as we have already decided to put a billion a year into a rainy day fund we’ll see, we have a buffer in place for downturns.”
However, Minister Noonan also admitted there could be potential advantages of Brexit for Ireland.
“There may be upsides if there was a transfer of activity from the City of London to Dublin, for example, or if there was a transfer of foreign direct investment from the United States to Ireland, as against the UK.”
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Niall Collins feels that Ireland must be absolutely clear about our position and focus to minimise the damage caused by this result.
“We will not be following the UK and we will work constructively to reform the EU from within. The economic, social and political case for Ireland to be a member of the Union remains overwhelming,” the Limerick politician said.
“We have a distinct and urgent national interest which should be recognised by our European partners.”
Fine Gael Ireland South MEP, Deirdre Clune, is of the view that the EU has had an enormously positive impact on Ireland and most other European economies.
“The key positive of our EU membership has been the Single Market, which has provided jobs and growth for Ireland. We must fight to ensure that this is preserved, along with the free movement of both goods and people,” she added.
Speaking to the Limerick Post this week, interim director of policy analysis for Limerick Chamber, Brian O’Driscoll, commented, “This is a decision that was clearly not the Limerick Chamber’s preference from a business and economic perspective for the Mid-West region. The very positive relationship which currently exists between Ireland and the UK, not least in the context of enormous strengthening of diplomatic ties over recent years, will stand Ireland in good stead as we adjust to the UK’s exit from the EU.”
In a joint statement from Shannon Chamber and Chambers Ireland, they maintained that there should be no immediate impact as negotiations for a UK exit from the European Union are likely to take a considerable amount of time.
“Everyone needs to remain calm and careful in their speculations about what may happen. The UK will continue to be an important trading partner and ultimately there will be a workable outcome and possibly even positive opportunities for the region as a result of this. The result is regrettable but it must now be dealt with quickly and decisively.”
“Down dooby doo down down,” indeed!
by Alan Jacques