The British Irish Chamber of Commerce called for a trade agreement between Ireland and the UK to be put in place as swiftly as possible “recognising the unique relationship” between the two countries.
Chamber Director General John McGrane also said the Common Travel Area between Britain, Ireland and Northern Ireland must continue.
Ibec described the outcome of the referendum as “a very significant blow to the EU” and a decision that would adversely affect Ireland more so than any other EU country.
“It is vital we play a central role in exit negotiations. Our unique economic concerns need to be heard and fully understood, and our interests fully safeguarded.
“Whatever the outcome of negotiations, the vote will fundamentally change our relationship with our nearest neighbour and most important trading partner,” Ibec chief executive Danny McCoy said.
Dublin Chamber of Commerce chief executive Gina Quin echoed Mr McCoy’s comments calling for the government and Irish MEPs to act decisively to protect Irish business.
Meanwhile, the Small Firms Association warned that Irish businesses are already under “severe pressure” as sterling fell rapidly against the euro making Irish exports to Britain more expensive.
“For many Irish small businesses, the UK is their only export market. The survival of businesses is dependent on UK suppliers and customers, so this outcome is worrying,” SFA director Patricia Callan said.