Irish business leaders in UK consider impact of Brexit

Networking organisation believes trade between the UK and Ireland would be damaged

Irish business leaders in Britain will consider the impact of a possible British withdrawal (Brexit) from the EU at the annual conference of the Irish International Business Network (IIBN) in London today.

Irish Ambassador Dan Mulhall, businessman John Mills and economist Vicky Pryce will lead a panel discussion on the issue at the conference.

The IIBN, a London-based networking organisation for Irish businesses which has chapters in New York and Dublin, is opposed to a British exit on the grounds that it could damage trade between the UK and Ireland.

There are more than 50,000 Irish directors in the UK, and groups campaigning for Britain to stay in the EU hope that they, along with hundreds of thousands of Irish people who can vote in Britain, will help to prevent a British exit.

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A survey of 2,000 Irish business professionals across the UK and Ireland, conducted by the IIBN, found that more than half of all respondents felt a British exit from the EU would have a negative impact on their business, while only 6 per cent felt it would have a positive impact.

The focus of this year's conference is on design and its importance in the success of Irish businesses overseas. Speakers include Sean O'Driscoll from Glen Dimplex, Telefonica CEO Ronan Dunne, and the IDA's Martin Shanahan.

Trade issues

A group of 30 business people from the Dublin Chamber of Commerce is also in London for a two-day series of briefings on trade issues, the British economic climate and the impact of a British withdrawal from the EU.

Yesterday they attended a reception in the House of Commons with the London Chamber of Commerce, hosted by Labour MP Conor McGinn, Tourism Ireland and Champ, a non-profit group that promotes peace and prosperity in the North.

Denis Staunton

Denis Staunton

Denis Staunton is London Editor of The Irish Times