Updated: 07/11/16 : 06:19:48
Sligo businessman Finbarr Filan was recently invited to attend the "All Island Civil Dialogue Conference on Brexit"
event in the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham last week. The day long conference focused on the potential impact by the triggering of Brexit on Irish businesses and featured speakers from a broad range of disciplines including politics, commerce and economics A large number of business people from the border counties were in attendance and in this capacity, Mr Filan participated in active discussion with An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Ministers Simon Coveney, Frances Fitzgerald Charlie Flanagan and the Louth TD, Fergus O’Dowd.
Commenting on the event, Mr Filan said ‘I was interested in the tone of the presentations and discussions. The was a lot of emphasis on the possible positive benefits to Ireland in two or three years time – however here in a border county, we need a focus on the immediate and present situation.’
Topics raised directly by Mr Filan to those in the various groups included the imbalance in regional development and lack of foreign direct investment and the effect of the fall in sterling on trade in the border region. Finbarr Filan (L) with Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan at the event
An Taoiseach stated to Mr Filan that he has instructed Fergus O’Dowd TD to work directly with the border counties to begin actively working on a plan to address Brexit. Seizing on this, Mr Filan invited Mr O’Dowd TD to Sligo in November.
As arrangements for the meeting are underway, it is the intention to have Mr O'Dowd, the TD with responsibility for working with the counties most affected by Brexit, to meet local Sligo business people and begin preparing for possible impact from the triggering of Article 50.