The Taoiseach, Mr Enda Kenny, T.D., today chaired the second meeting of the Labour Employer Economic Forum (LEEF) which brought together representatives of employers and trade unions with Government Ministers for a dedicated discussion on Brexit and its potential impacts on employer and labour interests in the Irish economy.
In commenting on the discussions today the Taoiseach stated “that the discussions highlighted the shared interests of both employers and workers in influencing and managing the outcomes for Ireland to the forthcoming Brexit process as the respective negotiating positions of the European Union and the United Kingdom develop and evolve over time”.
In the discussions today the Forum welcomed Ireland’s stated continuing commitment to EU membership and the opportunities and protections that membership affords. However, it was also recognised that Brexit represents a challenge to Ireland’s economic prosperity and will inevitably require both a short term adjustment and long term structural shift in the Irish economy.
All sides acknowledged that, in the common interest of Government, workers and employers, the response to Brexit will require a concerted national effort to minimise the potential negative impacts on jobs, competitiveness and the livelihoods of workers – while maximising opportunities that arise.
It was accepted by the Forum that the Brexit challenge requires Ireland to reaffirm its focus on growing the economy while diversifying markets and ensuring balanced regional development by investing in and attracting private investment to all our regions to the benefit of all who work and live in Ireland. Ireland must continue to provide an attractive and supportive environment for domestic and international businesses to locate and trade, to service international markets and to provide sustainable and high quality jobs in a climate of industrial peace.
The Forum agreed on the need to ensure that the challenges and opportunities for Ireland associated with Brexit, not least in terms of competitiveness and the labour market, are identified in a timely way and that robust solutions, informed by the inputs of key stakeholders, are developed as the agenda evolves. Accordingly, it was agreed that the issue of Brexit should form a standing agenda item for discussion at future meetings of the Labour Employer Economic Forum. This will allow for a rapid, flexible response to emerging priorities during the Brexit negotiation process.