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No deal Brexit catastrophic for businesses, says Girvan

Alliance Comber Councillor Alderman Deborah Girvan has said the implications of a no deal Brexit will be catastrophic for local businesses.

Alderman Girvan was speaking ahead of visiting Comber-based medical manufacturing company the Eakin Group, which exports to over 30 countries, to see first-hand the impact no deal will have locally.

“I recently contacted businesses in Comber who export their products to Europe and across the border. I was shocked at some of the replies I received, especially from the agri-food industry and in particular, from the Eakin Group,” she said.

“If there is no deal and a hard border, there will be serious implications for the future sustainability and profitability of our businesses and employment opportunities for local residents. The uncertainty, the lack of information, the lack of clarity, the lack of support from our MPs and Government Departments is creating a stressful environment in which to do business in Northern Ireland. 

“The implications for our economy of a no deal will be disastrous. Unemployment, high prices, shortage of food and medicines, and our young people emigrating to seek a better life elsewhere are all possible. We need to retain a seamless border where administration, bureaucracy and delays do not hamper businesses but help businesses to grow and flourish.

“The solution is simple – now people are much better informed about the disastrous implications for society as a whole Brexit will bring, we must let the people decide via another referendum. Democracy is an active process and its vital people have their say.”

Eakin Group Managing Director Jeremy Eakin added: “We have taken 25 years to build an export business to the EU, representing one-third of our total export sales. We employ 350 people in the UK, 105 of whom are based at our site in Comber. The closer the alignment we have with the EU, the better. Therefore, no Brexit is ideal, but if a Brexit is to proceed then the best scenario for us is one where we have a single market with customs alignment, regulatory alignment for both business and quality standards of medical devices and free movement of labour. The harder the Brexit, the more significant the impact on our business.”