The Union of Students in Ireland said Britain leaving the EU will negatively affect new graduates and emphasized that the factors influencing the decision to leave were racism, selfishness, intolerance and fear-mongering. The UK is the most popular destination for Irish graduates to emigrate – one in twelve Irish graduates pursue work opportunities in the UK, and USI said Brexit will affect these graduates, and students who want to do undergraduates, postgraduates or the Erasmus programme in the UK.
USI said the sterling has already suffered from the result of the referendum – the British pound is the weakest it’s ever been in 31 years – and this is a bad way to start a new direction.
Ibec, the lobby group for Irish businesses, said a Brexit vote will cause years of uncertainty between Irish and UK enterprise while a new deal between Britain and the EU is being brokered. The deal could take up to two years to negotiate after Article 50 is activated and exit negotiations begin. In January, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the border controls between Ireland and Northern Ireland could be brought back into effect if the UK votes to leave the EU. USI warned that border controls could reverse or alter the Common Trade Area agreement.
Ireland will become the only English native-speaking member state, which could make Ireland a more attractive location for foreign direct investment (FDI); but USI said blocking the fluidity of movement between Ireland and the UK will slow down trade – which will affect the Irish economy and, in turn, more jobs in Ireland.
When Ireland and the UK joined the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973, over 50% of Irish exports went to the UK. That figure has dropped to just over 16% today. Although over 40% of Irish exports go to the remainder of the EU, the UK remains Ireland’s single most important export market in Europe.
“The outcome of the Brexit referendum is incredibly disappointing,” Kevin Donoghue, USI President, said, “Not only for the future of Britain, but also for the future of Ireland. More than eight per cent of Irish graduates pursue work opportunities in the UK, and Brexit will affect them, as well as the students who wish to study their undergraduates or postgraduates in the UK, or do the Erasmus exchange programme there. There will be tighter border controls and more complicated visa processes which will deter young people from emigrating to the UK for job prospects, education or travel opportunities.”
USI said new border controls between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland could potentially damage years of progress in peace, economic and social relations between Ireland and the UK, and Ibec has said the return of border controls could disrupt the commercial activity between the north and south of Ireland and undermine the all-island economy.