Deloitte survey: Most Irish firms intend to grow despite Brexit uncertainty

Almost all chief executives here say they are planning to expand their businesses in 2017, despite the threat of Brexit, and over half have a strategy worked out to deal with the UK fallout, according to Deloitte survey.

Deloitte survey: Most Irish firms intend to grow despite Brexit uncertainty

Volatility in currencies is their top worry, but they also worry about finding staff with the right skills to fuel their growth plans, the survey found. Brexit nonetheless is an opportunity for Irish firms to export more to continental Europe.

“Business leaders are optimistic about growth levels over the next 12 months, despite the looming departure of the UK from the EU,” said Deloitte managing partner Brendan Jennings.

“Ninety six percent of respondents report that they plan to expand their businesses in 2017 and that is really positive and bodes well for the Irish economy, especially in the current economic environment with uncertainties arising from Brexit and the US election outcome.”

The survey comes as EU leaders are increasingly impatient over what they see as badly prepared plans of prime minister Theresa May to leave the bloc, saying the UK appeared clueless about the implications of Brexit.

Slovak prime minister Robert Fico said it’s not clear the UK knows what it wants and European politician Manfred Weber demanded Ms May’s government produce “clear proposals”.

Mr Weber made the comments after meeting UK Brexit secretary David Davis.

“In my meeting with David Davis, I, unfortunately, received no new insight into how the British government pictures Brexit,” said Mr Weber, an ally of German chancellor Angela Merkel who leads the European Parliament’s Christian Democrats.

“There is no idea what Brexit really means,” he said.

Mr Davis signalled at the Strasbourg meeting that the UK wants to retain access to the European single market, according to Mr Weber, who repeated the stance of the rest of the 28-nation bloc that such a privilege requires accepting the EU’s tenet on the free movement of people.

“The [UK] government’s position hasn’t changed on this,” said Ms May’s spokesman, Greg Swift.

“We are very clear that what we want is a trading relationship that allows UK companies to trade with and within the single market and lets European businesses do the same.”

Additional reporting by Bloomberg

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