'The outlook is bleak': Irish retail group will meet UK MPs amid no-deal Brexit fears

Retail Excellence also asked the government for a Revenue worker to help with preparations.

By Fora Staff

A GROUP REPRESENTING Irish retailers is set to meet with MPs in the UK this week amid fears of the effects that a no-deal Brexit would have on their business.

Retail Excellence 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 a tumultuous few days in Westminster last week, with the House of Commons voting to try block a no-deal Brexit and prime minister Boris Johnson – who is visiting Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Dublin today – trying and failing to call a general election.

With Johnson repeatedly insisting the UK will be leaving the EU  on 31 October, the threat of a no-deal has remained on the agenda.

Late last month, Retail Excellence 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 – are “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 staff from Revenue from September to December.

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“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.

Written by Sean Murray and posted on TheJournal.ie

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