Ireland likely to be Brexit’s silent victim

Study finds Irish economy is more vulnerable than any other country in exit scenario

Whatever way it’s cut, “Brexit” brings with it bad news in the Irish setting.

Whatever way it’s cut, “Brexit” brings with it bad news in the Irish setting.

 

Ireland’s high exposure to “Brexit” risk is set out in new research by Oxford Economics, a consultancy linked to the Oxford University business school.

Leaving aside the potential impact on Britain itself, the study finds Ireland is more susceptible than any other country in an exit scenario. Such findings mirror similar research by the London School of Economics published last week.

“Our modelling confirms that the economic implications of ‘Brexit’ are much more significant for the UK than the rest of the world. Overall the impact on the rest of the EU is very modest,” says the Oxford report.

“Ireland is found to be consistently the most vulnerable member state, reflecting its stronger trade and investment ties with the UK. Real GDP in Ireland drops by up to 2.2 per cent compared to baseline in the worst-case scenario.

“Our modelling indicates that Ireland would be particularly vulnerable to the UK failing to sign any type of preferential trade deal and reverting to [most favoured nation] status, irrespective of the UK’s subsequent policy response.”

Oxford Economics examines the impact by 2030 in nine scenarios, finding Ireland’s loss of output to be in a range between 0.9 per cent and 2.2 per cent. This is a tiny bit less than in the LSE study – which has Irish GDP falling between 1 per cent and 2.4 per cent – but that’s hardly the point.

Whatever way it’s cut, “Brexit” brings with it bad news in the Irish setting. No one is talking about the avoidance of pain. At issue, rather, is the degree of pain. Worse, this is unlikely to penetrate the referendum debate in Britain to any appreciable extent. It follows that the referendum in June – and all that might follow it – is shaping up to be the primary challenge facing the next government, no matter who forms it.

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