Ictu warns about Brexit ‘catastrophe’

Ictu warns about Brexit ‘catastrophe’

By Eamon Quinn

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu), the umbrella body for unions across Ireland, has warned of “a catastrophe” if the UK crashes out of the EU, while the Government’s National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) said Irish bonds have already been affected by concerns over a no deal Brexit.

And the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development also warned about “a disorderly” Brexit, adding that any spike in property prices could “lay the foundation for another boom-and-bust cycle” in the Irish economy that is growing robustly.

Meeting in Belfast, Ictu’s governing executive said it supported the Brexit draft withdrawal agreement struck between the UK and the EU because a no deal “would be catastrophic”.

“Our objective has been, and remains, the defence of the interests of working people on the island of Ireland economically, politically, socially and culturally.

“It is our view that the best way to achieve this is to negotiate as close as possible a relationship between the UK and the EU; preferably with the UK as a whole remaining in the single market and a customs union in the longer term. Only by achieving this can we arrive at a situation where the rights of citizens and workers, and where jobs and trade will not be impacted to a detrimental extent by this Brexit,” it said.

The announcement comes after almost all the business groups in the North and the Republic last week urged UK politicians to approve the draft deal when the House of Commons votes on it next month.

Meanwhile, the NTMA said the so-called spread between Irish bond yields and benchmark German bonds had widened, reflecting fears over a no deal Brexit.

“This has been particularly pronounced over the past week as Brexit risks have come to the fore,” its director of funding and debt management, Frank O’Connor said. Capital Market in London said the risk of a no deal was running around 50:50.

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