Údarás na Gaeltachta notes the result of the Brexit referendum on the United Kingdom exiting the EU.
The impact that this will have on the Gaeltacht economy and the companies based there will not be clear in the short term until the process is fully completed. It is estimated that it could take a number of years to work out all of the details.
Typically, the UK market is the first step to export for many of our client companies. Currently, nearly 20% of our client companies’ export sales are to the UK and is worth €100 million a year. Much depends on the value of Sterling in the coming months. The client companies which export to the UK rely on that market and any uncertainty will create difficulties for trade.
In the short term, the industry most likely to be affected by the impact of Brexit is tourism, with 3.3 million or 40% of tourists to this country coming from the UK. With the rate of Sterling falling, for example, this country may not be as competitive in terms of value for money as it was previously for tourists from the UK. That said, other EU member states will be in the same position. This means that we must ensure that our tourist industry remains competitive.
There will also be business opportunities, particularly in terms of attracting foreign direct investment. It will take a few years to assess the full implications of this decision, but in the meantime, the UK will still be a member of the EU and existing agreements will remain in place.
Údarás will examine the implications for our client companies and investigate all future possibilities for them and the Gaeltacht economy.