North will be in 'eye of storm' in event of Brexit no-deal warns accountancy body

Pictured is Niall Harkin, chairman, Chartered Accountants Ulster Society. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

THE north will be in the "eye of the storm" in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the chairman of a leading local accounting body has warned.

Speaking at the Chartered Accountants Ulster Society's annual dinner on Thursday night, Niall Harkin said in a no-deal scenario the island of Ireland faces the very real prospect of a hard border.

“Our members feel that if the UK crashes out without a deal, Northern Ireland will be in the eye of the storm," he told the 350-strong audience in Titanic Belfast.

"In the Brexit debate it seems that too little thought has been given to what business and industry need if we are to create jobs, grow our economy and ensure the future prosperity for all in Northern Ireland.”

Mr Harkin also referenced the latest Chartered Accountants Brexit survey of over 300 business leaders in Northern Ireland, which revealed that almost two thirds (60 per cent) of respondents believe Brexit will have a negative impact on business.

The survey further shows that just 1 in 10 (11 per cent) chartered accountants said they are ready for Brexit, with over half stating they had ‘very little' or ‘no plans' in place.

“There is still significant uncertainty and a lack of clarity about what Brexit will mean for Northern Ireland business.

“The biggest concerns which our members have are around customs administration, customs duties and supply chain distribution. I believe that those concerns should not be ignored,"he continued.

In his speech the chairman also re-iterated calls for the restoration of the Northern Ireland Executive.

“As it stands today Northern Ireland has no Programme for Government, we have no plan for Brexit and we have no shared vision for Northern Ireland. Every day of delay is a further step backwards," Mr Harkin added.

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