Brexit and embracing our new found status as the Poland of the British Isles…

I got a query this morning from a reader in Dublin who plans to come up for our End of Year Review event. They wanted to know what time the event ended so they could book the bus back home. I suggested a better idea, stay over and make a night of it. The new Premier Inn Hotel is less than a one minute walk to the venue and is only a bonkersly cheap £35 a night!

Since Brexit the pound has dropped like a stone and the Euro and £ are nearly at parity, making Northern Ireland extremely cheap for visitors from the south and other Euro areas. Are Tourism NI running ads in Dublin saying come to Northern Ireland, it’s cheap as chips? You would hope so. £110 a night for a 5 Star stay in the Lough Erne Golf Resort? Sign me up buttercup.

In addition to tourism, exports are now also cheaper, which is good news for manufacturers.

In my own area of IT services costs can be less than half the going rate in the North compared to Dublin. If you are a professional looking more work, hop on the Enterprise pronto. There is a huge skill shortage in Dublin. A canny business in Dublin should export their back office and other business functions to satellite offices in Northern Ireland and save themselves a small fortune.

My post title is not intended as negative. Poland has a great image as a cheap travel destination. And when it comes to Polish workers they have a fantastic reputation. They are the backbone of many a business in Ireland and the UK.

I have written before how I think Brexit will be a complete disaster for Northern Ireland but even I have to admit there can be some upsides to our new found competitiveness. We have traditionally been a low-cost area but now we are really low cost – we are talking Poundland low.

Any other suggestions on how we can embrace our new(er) low-cost status?


  • Food First

    If N I booms like Poland it will be happy days

  • 1729torus

    Everything will inflate back up eventually unfortunately, especially because of Purchasing Power Parity and cross-border trade.

  • Brian Kann

    Providing of course NI secures regulatory equivalence with the ROI. I appreciate London won’t allow this, not as they care about NI, but as it sets an awkward precedent for Scotland, who they do care about. Also, Ulster Unionists won’t allow it, as it defeats the overriding purpose of Brexit for them: make partition a visible reality once again.

    BTW if the Poland option is the only thing that can be even loosely called a benefit, then the DUP have a lot of explaining to do.

  • Jeremy Cooke

    I wonder what the reaction in Europe would be if the UK said it could no longer afford to stay in NATO and was gong to reconfigure for purely homeland defence?

  • GavBelfast

    I can see this thread being more about the use of the term “British Isles” than the actual narrative!

  • GavBelfast

    Brian: who and what do you mean by “Ulster Unionists”? Believe U me, we are a VERY broad church – too broad for our own good, and too broad for the wider good. But it comes with the ‘territory’ – brought-up to question, not meekly accept.

    I know there’s a degree of conflation in saying this, but look at how many Protestant church denominations there are – and people of a Unionist outlook who are Protestant, even nominally, will still often ‘feel’ a denomination, even if it’s just the one they were born into or would opt to be buried in.

    Having lived and worked happily in Dublin for a time, I can tell you sincerely and politely but firmly that I don’t want hard borders and partition weakening over the years hasn’t diluted my sense of being British, with an Irish flavour, one little bit. I hope it doesn’t ever again – I think only a return to violent republicanism would see that happen.

  • Roger

    UKNI: A back office for Ireland.

    A modern achievement of unionism.

  • Brian Kann

    Agreed Gavin. Sorry, I meant broadly those of a Unionist persuasion as I can’t see any visible movement or challenge against the leading DUP position and obstinacy on Brexit, even if it will seriously damage NI as a whole. I appreciate they “say” they don’t want a hard border, but their actions are doing everything to ensure it.

    For example, regulatory equivalence might save the interlinked agri-food sector in both NI and ROI but the DUP seem to bitterly oppose it. It may even bring serious and new opportunities for other sectors in NI. However, this cannot fly, seemingly, lest it somehow “dilute” their Britishness or the territorial integrity of the UK (even if there is already a handy precedent in the Isle of Man just a few miles out to sea).

    I have nothing against your Britishness: truth is, we all are a bit, and I’d include people from the south in that in terms of sharing much of the same culture. An inevitable consequence of our history – I don’t think that is exclusive to an Irish identity either!

  • epg_ie

    Aye but it depends on what’s already outsourced – I’m sure Dubliners have already discovered Mumbai and Gujarat – so what’s left and can it be done by a team 2-3hrs away?

  • Philip Murphy

    But it’s merely a stay of execution. Post Brexit NI is likely to come off worse than any part of the British Isles. There is no good solution for NI unless the solution is for the whole UK to remain in the customs union and single market. Special status in the SM and CU is bad because NI trades so much with GB and leaving with GB is bad because NI trades quite a lot with the RoI.

  • Karl

    Reconfigure its armed forces after hollowing out all 3 services on the vanity project that is the 2 Elizabeth class carriers which will neither have the full complement of F35s or protection ships to allow them to operate independently?
    Its nuclear weapons are sourced from the US. Its army has fallen below 80,000. They can no longer operator at more than brigade level abroad. It has no airborne maritime patrol capacity. It is about to lose its amphibious assault capability. It only has 3 patrol craft for domestic waters. Its latest destroyers have engines that dont work in hot weather.
    The British Armed Forces have been hollowed out to the point of ineffectiveness as the mandrins cut money and the Chiefs of Staff lack a coherent strategy within an ever changing financial window. They make the 2% spending point for NATO but have been involved in multiple wars.
    Most damning of all are the number of charities who are required to raise the profile for and offer support to ex servicemen.
    If you know how they would reconfigure for home defense, you should tell them, because they sure as hell dont know.

  • Brian O’Neill

    Indeed but make hay while the sun shines and all that.

  • Brian O’Neill

    Quality of work and people. I like many have tried outsourcing IT work in the past but the quality of work was atrocious. They may be half the price but they are a fifth as good.

    Also cultural differences etc make outsourcing not as attractive as it first seems. Many firms who tried it got burned and soon hurried back to Europe.

    Not to mention the issue that most customers want a local voice on the end of a phone line.

  • Jeremy Cooke

    They’re half-way there anyway. As long as they can offer the carriers and some niche capability to the USN then home defence and some high-end sea power is all that needed or desired. The lack of manpower means the pols can’t stick their noses into others countries business – to the great relief of the UK civpop

  • Karl

    On the basis that companies are not likely to locate to NI until Brexit is resolved, then the logical solution would be for NI workers to seek employment in ROI as it moves towards full employment. What happens when they find out, that them lot down south, dont eat their own babies?

  • Jeremy Cooke

    There is a big demand for baby eating because lazy Southerners won’t do it themselves?

  • Karl

    You think that offering carriers to the USN wouldnt involve sticking ther nose into other countries business? You obviously havent been following US foreign policy since WWII and dont know that carriers are designed for power projection. It is unlikely that the USN wouldnt use them to rescue polar bears in the artic.

  • Karl

    Since the recovery, lazy southerners will only munch down on fancy expensive imported babies leaving a glut of native babies overcrowding the hospitals for want of being eaten. Fill your boots.

  • hgreen

    Xenophobia was also a key driver of Unionist votes for Brexit despite NI not having a high proportion of expats.

  • Jeremy Cooke

    They’re designed and planned to emabark USN air wings so all the Brits will be doing is offering a floating platform.

    The big danger is getting dragged into a US ground war and with no Army that risk is resolving itself.

  • GavBelfast

    Hi Brian, and thank U for your thoughtful reply.

    I think it’s going to get something of the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement to get the Unionist electorate back to the polls en masse – and how’s that to be recreated.

    Remembrance Sunday can do it – that’s not to say it’s a Unionist thing, it isn’t and shouldn’t be – but all shades of Unionism coalesce around it. Big National/Royal occasions, too.

    The UUP has lost its way due to defections, Paisley’s constant disruptive behaviour to become top-dog, and then the party hip-hopping about all over the place seeking relevance.

    So a lot of people who would never dream of voting DUP either vote for the UUP in declining numbers, have switched to Alliance who at least seem to have a purpose, or just don’t bother.

    It’s estimated that at least 100,000 pro-Union voters voted ‘Yes’ in the GFA referendum in 1998 – then promptly disappeared.

    But they’ll come back for a border poll – and next Remembrance period, and the next big National/Royal occasion, but I can’t see it being for an election.

    I guess the same is true on the Nationalist side, the only difference being that turnout is higher and people have simply switched from the SDLP to SF rather than voting Alliance or staying at home.

    Me: increasingly someone comfortable in their identity but with real difficulty in finding a political home to go to. Fine Gael sounds attractive in its own way, but obviously not feasible as I’m comfortably Irish but not a Nationalist and don’t live in that State.

    Depressing, isn’t it?

  • Karl

    Embarking USN air wings would be facilitating an act of war. You dont have a problem with US foreign policy, you just dont want the expense of killing thousands of people far away. Is that your argument?
    Is the big danger getting dragged into a US ground war the expense in lives and money or being involved in illegal wars to further US aims?

  • Karl

    “….difference being that turnout is higher….”

    except it isnt, and hasnt been since 2011. There was turnout parity at the assembly election in 2017 but unionist turnout was 5% higher at Westminster.

    If nationalist turnout was 1.5% higher, then the votes of the two camps would be equal. Back in 1998, nationalist turnout was 10% higher.

    Arlenes mistake was energising a nationalist electorate with her crocodile remark and Brexit will ensure that turnout remains high. It is estimated that there is a difference of 40,000 between the two camps with unionism losing about 7,000 a year of that lead.

    I say this not to bore you with stats but to illustrate that the closeness of the two, may lead to a fundamental tipping point which will change NI forever and it is possible that this vote could take place in the next couple of years.

  • Jeremy Cooke

    To be honest I would say the money – being dragged into US adventures has been ruinous and has broken the UK military.

    The short answer is that, for me, it would be money – I don’t really care about wars being illegal or not; they’re wars and supposed to advance national interests otherwise I see no point in them. I’m not a fan of the whole Blairite “right to protect” doctrine.

    I won’t defend the current UK defence policy because it’s a fecking shambles.

    Back on subject – if the UK pulled out of NATO, yet retained defence links with US, how would that go down in Europe ? It could threaten the whole US-NATO involvement as well.

  • GavBelfast

    Hi Karl, what I meant was: turnout is traditionally higher in the west than in the east, and the west has a Nationalist majority, the east (except Belfast city) has a Unionist majority, in some cases hugely so. Cheers.

  • GavBelfast

    Karl, a lot of us already know that, having lived and worked there for a time. It felt little different to the times I worked in various parts of England.

    It’s a lot like the UK without being in the UK.

  • Karl

    You can tell me how 179 British Army and the 100,000 Iraqi civilian deaths advanced the UK national interest.

    If the UK pulled out of NATO, it would hasten the creation of a european army. As the USN positions itself towards the Pacific, what role would the UK have? It still has global ambitions on a regional budget.

  • Jeremy Cooke

    When I worked in Dublin and lived in the IFSC I used to be able to leave work, call into Marks & Spencer and be back home in time to watch “The Bill”.

    Sometimes, as I ate my M&S ready meal, I used to reflect if this was what the Men of ’16 had envisaged.

  • GavBelfast

    It is entirely possible that the UK as a whole will remain in the Customs Union and Single Market (or something dressed-up as unique that amounts to the same thing), which will mean the whole Brexit thing will have been a complete waste of time, effort, stress and annoyance.

    I think Boris Johnson will be out on his ear within a week, and who knows what will happen to the Government once the Budget is delivered next Wednesday.

    I hope David Cameron is doing a good job as Patron of the Alzheimers Society, for has a lot to answer for.

    Still, Nigel Farage is still smiling, but then what has he to lose? He’s either got his own way, or could end-up continuing his cushy number as an MEP.

  • Karl

    I think they would have been glad that since 1916, that the option of overthrowing the state has never been considered the best option to initiate change in Dublin.

    I also suspect they would be disappointed to know that your dietary needs are met by M&S ready meals and that there would be more in the way of entertainment where the Bill would ever be considered as a plausible option.
    Although I accept that Eastenders on RTE is a capital offence.

  • Jeremy Cooke

    I’m not – it didn’t – it was at all levels a national disaster.

    But isn’t that the problem “global ambitions on a regional budget” and the quicker the UK realigns itself to limited global ambitions on a regional budget the better for them?

    The UK military has world-class capabilities highly valued by the US: carriers (albeit limited), stategic nuclear, strategic lift, SF, T45s (when debugged) but it does not, nor do I think it ever will, have the mass of men and armour needed for a European land war.

    Does Europe want to keep those UK capabilities post-Brexit and should the UK be clear that a WTO deal means they lose UK military capabilites as well? Is the military a card the UK should be playing?

  • Jeremy Cooke

    Feck me – I actually would have something in common with them then.

  • Karl

    Good points. But if youre asking me if the EU wants nuclear weapons supplied by the US and aircraft carriers, I would have to say no.
    There is the French nuclear deterrent already and I suspect Russia, who has the same defense budget as France, will be the EUs primary focus. No need for aircraft carriers. The EU will play softly globally.
    I think the UK withdrawing military and the associated intelligence skills will only go some way to further isolating it.

  • GavBelfast

    Brexit? What Brexit? 😉

  • lizmcneill

    “Here’s a job but only for 18 months”.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I had that issue to work with back in the early 1990s. I used to be brought into film meetings with prospective companies from, for example, the old Soviet Union! They were cheap, budget wise, but had no idea how to even begin to approach the pre-Computer sophistication of work origionating in the UK. I had to work out how to let all these producers beaming like seals know the sort of rubbish they would get for 16% of the local budget here!

  • John Taylor

    NI is a great place. You can buy a massive property with land for a fraction of the cost in GB, ok its like Siberia for culture but you can bus down for concerts at NCH and fly from Dublin to Vienna, Berlin etc direct for opera etc, fantastic place even though jobs are non existent unless you want to risk working at Almac or Randox! For a retired person its fab. I still have change left over to invest from selling my place in GB.

  • John Taylor

    What an awful way to live, M & S dinners, Wiltshire Farm Foods far better! I looked at the IFSC area just after the meltdown it was pretty empty all those units like Pigeon lofts

  • Granni Trixie

    I’ll not have a word said against M and S dinners. I would have them every day if I could afford it.

  • Brian O’Neill

    The pasta meals and the soups are quite nice to be fair.

  • Brian O’Neill

    Better than no job for no months.

  • John Taylor

    Madam can you not learn to cook? My wife Magda cooks Viennese. I rarely eat made up dinners, WFF is like meals on wheels but edible.

  • hgreen

    Opera; a diversion for people with too much money and too little taste, as the rest of your post goes on to confirm.

  • Granni Trixie

    I’ll have you know Sir that I have two rows of cookery books (multicultural ofcourse) though my husband keeps saying “why do you need another cookery book”?
    You know, I have always found that it is true that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Shallow isn’t it?

  • steve crane

    Last time I saw a map Ireland looked like one country to me. The obvious solution (and the cheapest for the rest of the UK) is hand NI to the ROI with a couple of £billion as a dowry.

  • Mister_Joe

    If you fancy eating babies, have a gander at this.

  • Brian O’Neill

    Call it a Londondowry?

  • William Kinmont

    Have we got the work ethic anymore? Tourists might flock here but who will cook and clean for and serve for them? Post brexit we are likely to lose those Eastern Europeans who who do these jobs now.

  • Starviking

    So we’re going on “looks” to decide national boundaries?

  • Starviking

    The phrase “shitting bricks” comes to mind.

  • Starviking

    I don’t know where you are getting your facts, but there has been no announcements that the F-35 order will not be sufficient to equip the QE-class carriers. Escort-wise there will be enough ships (support ships included) to enable independent operations, though multi-national operations will still probably be the order of the day.

    Maritime patrol aircraft have been ordered, and these days domestic waters are best left to the various civilian agencies responsible – the days of the sudden appearance of attack fleets is long gone.

    As for the Type 45 destroyers, there was a problem with their engines in Persian Gulf conditions. Operating in the Gulf was not an original aspect of their design, but their systems are being modified.

    That said, there are problems with Treasury-mandated savings orders: to make them palatable things get “salami-sliced” – small cuts across the board which slowly cut down in capabilities in all areas (like amphibious assault – cut one ship this time, another next time, retire one early… then you’re trying to do with one ship what you could with all the lost ones).

    For home defence though, you’d lose a lot of the support ships, the regular army wouldn’t have to be so big – expand the TA though, and the RAF could lose a lot of transports and helicopters. Not a wise move in my book though. Many nations see the UK as a good partner as they can punch above their weight (for now!).

  • Starviking

    They’re out of NATO though.

  • Starviking

    If the UK pulled out of NATO it would be extremely destabilizing in Europe. I would expect Putin to see this as a signal to double his dissention-sowing.

    The US bases in the UK would reduce, or possibly close.

    The UK’s diplomatic clout would shrink significantly.

    The deterrent renewal would probably be impacted severely.

  • Starviking

    Aircraft carriers are useful for not only supporting allies, but for sending diplomatic signals: they can be sailed to the edge of a contentious area to send a message.

  • As the US has done off Korea: three carrier strike forces.

  • Merkel’s doubts about relying on the US & UK were aired earlier this year. On Monday, 23 EU Member States decided to press on with EU defence. As Trump might tweet: Huge procurement savings! Jobs!

  • aquifer

    The Sirocco site at the Belfast end of the Dublin rail line could host a financial services centre all on its own. Some extra commuter trains or executive Wi-fi enabled coaches and Lisburn Craigavon Antrim become affordable executive housing. Lets hope bankers don’t like golf fishing and sailing.

  • William Kinmont

    perhaps we should might be no worse than all the others

  • William Kinmont

    With all the high tech solutions being preposed from the border do you think IT could be tarriffed surely the tech exists or could be made to monitor this.

  • William Kinmont

    I think we need to go further down first. Currently there is little hope of achievement except for the already wealthy or the few exceptional entrapreneurs . For the majority hard work provides no reward, no opertunity to significantly improve your situation. The Eastern Europeans are able to benefit from their hard work by returning home where the money does offer hope and opertunity. Work hard here in a menial job and you will just survive at the same level.
    For more skilled workers Doctors etc the opertunities for a better life also lies elswhere, the aspiration for a nice family house in a local town does not seem to be enough anymore. Aus Nz and USA seem to offer a lifestyle thats more attractive. The demand means that the income can be sourced without responsibilities no need to be tied down.

  • Abucs

    If the UK were to drop it’s corporate tax rate that would be an even bigger incentive for local producers and international producers to set up here.

    The increase in productivity and exports would then cause the pound to rise again but this time there would be more business, more production, more employment, more skills and more collected taxes overall.

    It’s called taking advantage of capitalism.

    Of course NI politicians would have to lobby Westminster for deals that would let the small peripheral country of NI take maximum advantage. Unfortunately though there are Left leaning parties more interested in playing the victim card(s), canvassing for state hand-outs, disrupting government and looking for any angle to promote division in the service of a far off UI. This is hampering our abilities to organises ourselves properly to be in the position of taking advantage of capitalism.

    Parties signed up to the GFA with the implicit acknowledgement of trying to make the government work for the people of NI. It is much easier to always play the victim card and never have to deliver for the people.

    Get back to Stormont, everyone sign up to Westminster and work for the people of NI to have as many opportunities as possible. Please.

    If you want to be leaders, then lead. It is a very immature look for some to be a protest party even while in government and run away from crucial times of leadership to the detriment of the lives of people you are paid to make better.

  • Karl

    Read that again.

  • Karl

    We come in peace, shoot to kill.

    You’re proposing that the UK returns to 19th century gunboat diplomacy? Dont like johnny foreigners policies. Send a warship to sit off his coast and threaten his infrastructure until he sees the error of his ways. A few rounds in the presidential palace will get them thinking straight again.

  • Karl

    The UK hopes to have 40 F35Bs by 2023, although it has only actually ordered 27 to date. Each carrier is designed for 36 F35Bs but will routinely only carry 12. It is borrowing 6 USMC for the first deployment of the QEII in late 2020. There has been talk of mothballing the second carrier for this reason and operational costs.
    A typical carrier strike group generally contains 4 surface escorts, 2 submarine escorts and a supply ship. With current numbers, work and scheduled maintenance, the UK could only guarantee the supply ship for one carrier. Its current non nuclear carrying submarine force is only 6 and it only has 6 modern destroyers.
    The engines werent designed to operate in the primary theatre of UK forces abroad since 1990? I think youre beginning to grasp the problems.
    As to the other points, and the argument, the UK has a large defense budget, but it is trying to fight wars globally on the minimum recommended NATO amount for general defense spending. It is positioned towards global intervention as an auxilliary to the US. At the moment the EU is positioning itself to counter Russia and therefore, while the UK would be a loss, it is not central to EU military thinking.

  • Jeremy Cooke


  • Jeremy Cooke

    Could we make the whole docks area a Freeport? Would that be a good or a bad thing?

  • siouxchief

    True Gav, the one thing I feel sorry about for the people of NI is that over on the FT I was reading recently mainly in the comments section that a lot of the Finance people on there thought if NI stayed in the CU/SM but also had relatively easy access to the UK economy it could have the best of both worlds and some suggested their companies would move there to gain from this.

    Alas we are unlikely to ever see that happen or even looked into the prospects due to the DUP and them needing to enshrine Britishness to the detriment of all of NI. That I find is the most shocking thing about all of this.

  • Tochais Siorai

    As Dublin had the worst living and dietary conditions for a European city in the early 20th Century, most of the men of ’16 would have seen an M & S ready meal as the height of luxury.

  • Starviking

    Didn’t work so well in East Timor, nor West Papua.

  • Starviking

    Sorry, too cryptic.

    My point was: If the UK withdraws to national defence only, then they would hardly be contributing to NATO.

  • aquifer

    Being able to offload to both the EU and the UK could be a key benefit, and haulage rates back into Britain have been competitive, but it might be a small niche in the market. Will it be Belfast or Newry?

  • Starviking

    This is all stuff hyped-up by the tabloids.

    Each QE will routinely carry 12 F35s in peacetime. There’s a surge capability to 24 in an emergency, and 36 could be carried at maximum – but with a big impact on the other aircraft the ship carries.

    Carrier operations these days are built around “sortie generation”, adn for whatever the RN wants to do, they’ve set upon 24 as being ideal in a combat situation. That’s the same reason why the USN carriers currently carry about 70 aircraft, even though they could carry many more.

    The use of the USMC for the first deployment of QE is a great idea: the USMC will have had experience on using their planes on the America-class LHDs, and so will be able to give much more uselful feedback based on their experience and also will be able to give comparisons on flyling from the two ships.

    As for escorts – there’s a rule for them, the “Rule of Three”. From the excellent blog “Thin Pinstriped Line”:

    …or every ship that is on the front line at sea right now on live operations (e.g. fully stored, fuelled and munitioned and operating under a specific operation), you require a further two ships in the pipeline. The first is the one that’s just come home and gone into refit or lower level readiness. This is because the crew need to take leave, parts need replacing and the ship needs maintenance. The second is the ship that will replace the ship deployed, and this vessel will usually be in some point of the force generation cycle, which involves final bits of maintenance, trials, basic sea training and more advanced sea training and any other targeted work to get her ready to sail.

    The RN has 6 Type-45s, so two will be available as escorts, and there are 13 Type-23s, so potentially 4 to 5 would be available. 2 SSNs would also be in the mix. As for carrier supply ships – not currently needed, as QE has not been commisioned, and is 3 years from first deployment.

    Your comment on the Persian Gulf being the primary theatre of UK forces abroad since 1990 is pretty far off the mark. The Gulf War excepted, the Atlantic has been the primary theatre for the RN. As for the engine – yup, it is an issue, and it is being sorted-out. Ships and planes are complex beasts, and the Type-45s, with their all-electric propulsion are new and complex.

    The UK would be a big loss to any EU military, as it has capabilities no other nation except France has: carrier and amphibious capability, and it also has long-range transport capbility in the C-17s.

    I’ll finish by saying, I’m not surprised by the points of view you hold – when I had to rely on the press for info on military matters, their lack of care on the subject was horrifying, but not as much as their willingness to spin a minor story into a ‘doom and gloom’ tall-tale.

  • Starviking

    Not at all. You should check out “Operation Vantage” – a British carrier-led force in 1961, which dissuaded Iraq from invading Kuwait.

    It’s arguable that if the UK had maintained their carriers the Falklands and the Gulf Wars might not have happened.

  • NewerSouthernMan


    Assuming Sterling stays low vs the euro over the next few years, inflation in NI will negate the price differential between Newry and Dundalk, eliminating this temporary advantage.

    NI will end up with worst of both worlds, high prices and a stagnant economy.

    Brexit will be a disaster for NI, no matter how much lipstick you put on that pig.

  • Jeremy Cooke

    True – I think they’d seek a US-CAN-UK agreement instead to reflect the new trade deal they’re after; suprised if they got it though.

  • Jeremy Cooke

    I was thinking more about importing, assembling and exporting from the freeport without tariffs – a screwdriver operation. Isn’t that what Freeports are?

  • Ciaran Moore

    I was wondering about that – if NI retained EU regulatory standards and participated in an all island inspection regime, but also remained in sterling this would offer all sorts of arbitrage opportunities for the whole island. Belfast could be a counterbalance to Dublin.

    Do unionists believe port checks to prevent chlorinated chickens and GM crops coming over here is with destroying NI farming over? Perhaps the southern government should be clearer about what they are proposing should happen at the ports/ With the CTA retained there is no need for passports.

  • aquifer

    Sounds interesting, maybe for niche products where final assembly is not a big part of costs? Design, assemble, test, CE mark, quality assure, and market stuff, adding enough value to make paying EU GB tariffs worthwhile, or to export it elsewhere? This would need a lot of room for big tin sheds in a big closed area,or depending on tariff rules, big assembly sheds outside?
    Or just huge Freeport showrooms to decide what is worth paying tariffs to import? NI has been a test market for the UK before.
    The Chinese might like to invest in all this.

  • Lagos1

    Interesting article. However, it is also worth imagining a post-Brexit world where there is no substantial agreement. We would then probably see a very sharp economic contraction in the South without a nearly comparable contraction in the wider Eurozone. And being part of the Eurozone it would not be able to depreciate its currency and would not have access to the fiscal transfers normal for other single currency zones. This would mean that wages South of the border would have to decline and/or businesses would indeed be sending back office jobs elsewhere. We shouldn’t assume things in the rest of Ireland will remain rosy.

  • The Saint

    that was worth a titter

  • Georgie Best

    No doubt the DUP admire traditional Polish democracy which employed the liberum veto where someone could stand up and say Nie pozwalam! ( “I do not allow!”) and block the whole thing.

  • Georgie Best

    Economic setback for the South to be sure, but unlikely a sharp economic contraction. Certain businesses would be affected badly, but many others would have a modest effect. With general growth at 5% in recent years this might well counteract any actual contraction, as other European markets would still be doing well. There might not be fiscal transfers in general, but EU aid would be forthcoming to retool dairies to produce mozzarella rather than cheddar.

    Whatever economic setback to the South will be small compared to the 6 counties.

  • Lagos1

    Ironically dairies in the North will be allowed to produce mozarella whilst those in the south wont due to the EU’s Protected Designation of Origin scheme. Dont expect too much from the EU. It is quite clear the EU is willing to hang the south out to dry in an attempt to squeeze what they can out of the UK.

    I am not so optimistic for the south. It will be stuck behind a tariff barrier in a much diminished european single market which may be even more difficult to access than ever. I don’t know why we would expect the economic impact to be less than in the North which as I mentioned will benefit from the traditional economic tools to counter a downturn whilst simultaneously remaining within the single market that really matters to it. Furthermore we have to be careful with respect to how much of that 5% growth comes from activities that actually provide the jobs. No, things are looking bleak. I worry that whilst the Irish government talk tough on Brexit, they are really heading for a Greek style recession.

  • Georgie Best

    Only Mozzarella di Bufala Campana is protected, bog standard mozzarella can be made in Emerald Isle.

    What economic tools does the North have? Interest rates are already rock bottom. Devaluation increases costs as well as providing advantages. It may allow people from the South have a nice day out shopping, but that is it. As for fiscal transfers, if this comes to pass the UK will have fiscal problems and will not be sending more to NI. Their only advantage is that people can commute to the South for work.

    As for jobs, 1000 jobs a week have been created in recent years in the south, which suggests the growth is there. It will have to slow, because there aren’t any more people to work.

    The UK accounts for 17% of irish exports, if the whole lot disappeared you might have a Greek recession, but Irish producers can sell cheese, lamb etc and other products on the Continent that currently come from the UK.

  • NewerSouthernMan

    Sorry Lagos but I disagree. The Southern economy is strong and growing and stands on its own two feet. A hard Brexit will definitely hurt but it will just be a speed bump on the road to further economic success.

    Unfortunately, it will be a disaster for NI. In 10 years, perhaps NI will resemble your namesake, Lagos, Nigeria!

  • Patrick Toland

    Now that you mention it Brian, Southerns should consider moving north cheaper goods like food, drink, electronics, fuel, eating out, cinema, cars etc, lower cost of living in general really, free GP appointments, cheaper dental care, houses are nearly half the price of Dublin. At the minute don’t know about after the effects of brexit though.

  • siouxchief

    Could be the Northern Powerhouse of Ireland like the Torys are desperate to have Manchester to London.

  • UKExpat

    You are quite right Starviking, Karl really has little or no idea about the state of the UK defence forces, particularly the Royal Navy.He has clearly been reading far to much Gutter Press and seems to believe it is true. The actual UK position is that it is currently involved in a massive new construction project estimated at apprimatley £175+ billion (Close to the Irish total budget for one year) to significantly upgrade the quality and numbers of it’s naval forces. The main project includes many sub-projects involving the building of numerous new Patrol Vessels, Frigates, Destroyers, Carriers, Nuclear SSN & SSBN Submarines, Tankers & Other Large Support Ships, etc.

    True, there have been delays and cost increases in the new RN carriers, but these have come about from the knock on effect of a big problem in the USA, that can only be described as a singular catastrophic event, which occurred about two decades or so ago which American defence experts now normally just refer to it as the “concurrency ” programming problem. Basically huge errors in many US Defence Procurement Projects occurred when far to many new technologies were included in new build projects with to little time allocated for completion, large delays were inevitable, for example to the F35 aircraft project, their new aircraft carriers, their Littoral Combat Ships, etc. etc. some projects were virtually cancelled like their new Zumwalt destroyers. All this is verifiable by reference to reputable resources like the USNI (United States Naval Institute) but hardly, if ever, mentioned in the Gutter Press.

    The UK government had to deliberately slow down the construction it’s own new carriers due to the long F35 aircraft project delays caused by the above, as the F35s were essential to the new carriers. This was not, as stated in the Gutter Press, primarily a money driven decision, it was just good risk management..

    A last point is about the F35 aircraft.Do not believe what the Gutter Press says about them. Prepare for a shock! This aircraft will not only be world class but it will be extremely cheap for the UK to purchase. Again the Gutter Press is full of doom and gloom with cost projections of $150 M per unit when in reality they are actually coming down to approximately $100 M per unit for the UK’s current order of 138 number of the F35B version of the aircraft. What they forget to tell you is that the UK, as the only Class 1 partner with the US on the project, is allocated to have at least 15% of all the manufacturing and maintenance work on this 3,000+ aircraft project carried out in the UK. This work has already started with 20,000 jobs created and is expected to sustain at least 25,000 high end UK jobs for the next 25 years in the UK. The UK government’s “tax claw back” from this work/jobs will make a massive dent in the cost of these aircraft. Again the Gutter Press makes no comment on this.

    Suffice is to say that, Karl and the Gutter Press’s recent reports of the death of the Royal Navy are totally and utterly false and unfounded. In fact the RN is well on it’s way to becoming a very formidable force.