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Minister Flanagan launches Debate to promote awareness of “Brexit” implications for Irish SMEs

Minister Charles Flanagan, Northern Ireland Peace Process, Press Releases, Northern Ireland, Great Britain, Ireland, 2015

Minister Flanagan launches Debate to promote awareness of “Brexit” implications for Irish SMEs

- 130 delegates attend debate entitled: “#Brexit or #Bremain? What’s at stake for British-Irish Business?”
- Partnership between British Irish Chamber of Commerce & Institute of Certified Public Accountants aims to stimulate greater awareness & debate
- High level panel to argue for and against at a debate hosted by Minister Flanagan in Iveagh House

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Charlie Flanagan T.D., this morning (Wednesday) launched a partnership between the British Irish Chamber of Commerce (BICC) and the Institute of Certified Public Accountants aimed at promoting awareness of the implications of a possible “Brexit” among the Irish business community.

The launch took place at a BICC breakfast debate hosted by Minister Flanagan in his Department’s headquarters for members of the British and Irish business communities. Featuring panellists advocating different viewpoints, the debate was entitled “#Brexit or #Bremain? What’s at stake for British-Irish Business?”

Speaking at the event, the Minister called on Irish businesses to take part in the upcoming debate, arguing that they had a key role to play “…because so many of you are deeply connected to the UK, whether it’s through your clients, your customers, or your suppliers. That means you are uniquely well-placed to stimulate discussion, both here and in the UK. To get people thinking about whether Brexit is bad news or not. To perhaps draw attention to business or commercial realities that had been overlooked."

He noted:

“On a matter as fundamental as EU membership, which goes to the very heart of the British and Irish economies, the voice of enterprise carries real clout. That is because people know your views are formed with jobs and growth in mind – not any other consideration.”

Stating that Ireland had a great deal at stake in the debate, Minister Flanagan stated: “we need to carve out a constructive, if respectful, role for ourselves.”

Minister Flanagan met with the British Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, on Monday 23 November in London for the latest in a series of discussions about the forthcoming referendum. He stated:

“Those discussions began shortly after the Foreign Secretary and I were appointed to our current Cabinet roles. He knows where Ireland stands. And he knows the UK can count on Irish support at the Brussels negotiating table when it comes to so much of Prime Minister Cameron’s reform agenda."

He stated:

“I am confident that a deal can be reached at EU level to meet the UK’s reform concerns. That’s because, in so many respects, Prime Minister Cameron’s objectives are achievable.”

Minister Flanagan urged Irish businesses to use every opportunity to stimulate discussion of Brexit and its possible implications:

“Put Brexit and its effects on the agenda of board and staff meetings. Bring it up with your British partners. Be active on social media. Tell people why it’s best that Britain remains in the EU,” adding that “You will not only be doing what’s good for your business, but what’s good for Ireland too.”

Press Office
1 December 2015

Note for Editors:

The debate was organised by the British-Irish Chamber of Commerce, a leading business group serving the interests of businesses with interests in Britain and Ireland. It was sponsored by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants and hosted by Minister Flanagan at his Department’s headquarters in Iveagh House.

Minister Flanagan will launch the event and his speech will be followed by a panel discussion about what a Brexit might mean for Irish business. The discussion will be moderated by RTÉ journalist Emma McNamara and will feature speakers from the worlds of business, law and public policy.

The panel will include small business owner and former Apprentice star, Roisín Hogan; director of the British Eurosceptic campaign group Business for Britain, Alex Story; director of the British pro-EU campaign group, British Influence, Peter Wilding; expert on EU law and commercial solicitor, Philip Lee; and director of the ESRI, Professor Alan Barrett.