A closed Irish border is not acceptable for either trade or people, Chartered Accountants Ireland has said in its strongest statement yet on the implications of Brexit.
Speaking to more than 700 guests at the Chartered Accountants Ireland annual dinner in Dublin, Chartered Accountants Ireland president Liam Lynch said: “We simply cannot have a closed border on this island for either trade or for people.”
Mr Lynch, a tax partner and head of insurance at KPMG Ireland, said a hard Brexit would be extremely challenging to Ireland and that chartered accountants needed to make their voices heard.
“We appear to be headed towards a hard Brexit, with the UK out of the free trade area and out of the customs union,” he said. “This will be extremely challenging for the island of Ireland. We need to work now to establish how the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will work and how it can cause the least amount of economic disruption.:
Mr Lynch said that there had to be “early and significant consultation between governments and business” on what might be possible, saying “maintaining and strengthening” Ireland’s position within the EU was vital because it was where the country’s future lay.
“As business leaders we know the issues that need to be addressed,” he said. “We need to bring these issues to the table ahead of Article 50 being invoked. We need to take a lead position with the other 27 EU states, the EU Commission and the EU Parliament to represent the concerns and opportunities of Irish business.
“As a professional body we will continue to work at these levels to ensure the best possible conditions for business and society on this island.”
The event at the Convention Centre Dublin was also addressed by world affairs and US foreign policy analyst and commentator James Rubin, who recently served as media adviser to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Chartered Accountants Ireland is Ireland’s largest and longest established professional body of accountants.
It was founded in 1888 and represents 25,000 members around the world.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved