IoD chair warns of potential no-deal Brexit 'havoc'

Pictured at the Institute of Directors Northern Ireland (IoD NI) annual dinner are: Dale Guest, director corporate banking Northern Ireland at main sponsor, Bank of Ireland UK; Gordon Milligan, IoD NI chairman; guest speaker Martin McCourt, chairman of Glen Dimplex; and Catriona Gibson, managing partner of associate sponsor, Arthur Cox.
Gareth McKeown

THE head of the Institute of Directors (IoD) in the north has warned a no-deal Brexit could "severely impact" people's lives and stressed for an agreement to be found before next month's deadline.

Speaking in front of more than 400 business leaders at the organisation's annual dinner on Thursday night, IoD Northern Ireland chairman, Gordon Milligan said politicians must "immediately find a way to secure a comprehensive future relationship with the EU" before March 29.

"If we tumble over the cliff edge without a parachute, a no-deal Brexit is about a lot more than trade. It would see many legal obligations and definitions lapse immediately while also throwing in doubt the status of EU citizens in UK and UK citizens in EU," he told the audience.

“A no deal Brexit has the potential to severely impact people's lives and would represent a serious dereliction of duty."

“It will be unforgivable if the politicians in Westminster unleash the havoc that results in us sleep walking into a no deal Brexit by playing down the clock like a game of countdown," Mr Milligan continued.

In his address the chairman also reiterated calls for the restoration of the Northern Ireland Executive.

“If the aim of government is to mothball Stormont, it has been successful," he said.

“It has been well publicised that the political vacuum has resulted in a logjam of more than £2 billion of infrastructure projects.

“For those of us in the business community, focused on creating jobs and wealth for the good of everyone, we are just getting on with the task at hand.”

Former Dyson CEO and current chairman of Glen Dimplex, Martin McCourt was the guest speaker on the night at the dinner, held in the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Belfast.

During his 15 years leading Dyson, Mr McCourt, who has also held senior positions at globally recognised firms such as Mars, Duracell and Toshiba, helped the company reach revenue of £1bn for the first time.

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