Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard and Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir today attended the Joint Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the Houses of the Oireachtas in Dublin.
The Committee was discussing the likely economic impact of the EU Referendum with particular emphasis on jobs and enterprise.
Addressing the Oireachtas, Minister Hazzard said: “There is no doubt that the result of the UK Referendum on EU Membership has the potential to create exceptional difficulties for the island of Ireland. Not least in terms of its impacts on jobs and enterprise. I therefore welcome the opportunity to engage with colleagues in the South given the unique position we find ourselves in.
"I am concerned about the loss of access to EU funding. Some of our most significant projects have a cross border dimension, however I believe presenting a joint case for infrastructure plans will strengthen our argument. In recent years, there have been good levels of co-operation between north and south to support the securing of EU funding for cross-border projects and I am keen to build on this and explore further opportunities that may exist to progress joint projects that would be mutually beneficial between now and exit.
"Ensuring the north has access to the single market is also vital. Restrictions on this could create problems for players in the transport sector throughout the island. Barriers to trade mustn’t become barriers to progression of peace, cohesion and integration. While there are more questions than answers at this stage, it is important that we continue to discuss issues on a North / South basis and I look forward to further discussions in the months ahead.”
Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said: “Since June I have held regular EU Referendum roundtable meetings with business, union and community representatives to get first hand feedback on the key issues they are facing.
“There are economic challenges facing both parts of the Island as a result of the EU referendum. I believe now more than ever we must work through cross-border co-operation, trade and innovation to consider approaches that would help to mitigate the potential impacts.
“Support from Europe, including €13 billion European funding since 1994, has had a positive and transformative impact on all sections of our community. I recently visited Brussels and will continue to make the case for continued support and engagement between the north, our partners in the south, and the EU in the short, medium and long term.”
Notes to editors:
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