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'Outlook is bleak': Irish retail group to meet UK MPs amid no-deal Brexit fears

Retail Excellence Ireland has also asked the government for the secondment of a Revenue worker to assist their Brexit planning.

Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

A GROUP REPRESENTING Irish retailers are set to have meetings with MPs in the UK in the coming days amid fears of the effects that a no-deal Brexit would have on them.

Retail Excellence Ireland has also asked the government if it would consider seconding a staff member from Revenue with experience in customs and certification for the next four months to help its members deal with Brexit. 

It was another tumultuous few days in Westminster this week, with the House of Commons voting to try block a no-deal Brexit and Boris Johnson trying and failing to call a general election. 

With Johnson repeating again and again the UK would be leaving the EU come what may on 31 October, the threat of a no-deal has remained high. 

Late last month, Retail Excellence Ireland group chief executive David Fitzsimons wrote to both Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Business Heather Humphreys. 

He said: “I am writing out of concern regarding the negative impact of Brexit on the Irish retail industry.

As you are aware the industry employs over 282,000 people in every town and village in Ireland. The vast majority of retailers currently source product directly from the UK or if not, they buy it from a local wholesaler who sources from a UK supplier.

Fitzsimons said that over 2,000 retail community members and the wider industry is “inadequately prepared for Brexit”. 

“Add to this the negative impact Brexit will have on consumer sentiment and spending, the outlook is bleak,” he said. 

I have meetings with a number of MPs in the House of Commons, Westminster on 11 September and we are pushing hard for an orderly Brexit.

The retail group head included in his letter a request from Ministers Donohoe and Humphreys to consider seconding a member of the team from Revenue from September to December.

“I believe there is a reticence on the part of retailers to inform themselves of the issues, but an advice service led by Retail Excellence in partnership with Revenue would be fully utilised,” Fitzsimons said.

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Sean Murray

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