FMB Reflect on Possibility of “Hard Border” in Ireland After Brexit
If a hard border was created between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Britain officially leave the EU, there could be untold damage caused. New research has been carried out by the Federation of Master Builders which has shown that there could be a range of negative impacts caused by the implementation of a had border separating Northern Ireland and the Republic.
The research that has been carried out shows that more than half of the construction SMEs in Northern Ireland feel that a hard border would negatively impact their ability to purchase products and materials from the Republic. Almost half of the Northern Irish SMEs said that they purchase building materials and products from the Republic of Ireland, whereas a third of those that responded for the research said that they employ people who are based across the border.
Just under 40% of respondents to the Federation’s research has said that a hard border in Ireland would negatively impact their ability to employ people from across the border. One in three Northern Irish builders have had their margins squeezed on projects through the depreciation of sterling following the EU referendum because of the knock on effect the vote has had on material prices. The research carried out by the Federation of Master Builders has said that the depreciation of sterling has threatened the financial stability of their business after the EU referendum.
The research has clearly demonstrated how damaging for the construction industry a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland could be. A hard border could have an effect on the day-to-day running of businesses. The construction industry employs around 65,000 people and is an enabling industry, creating homes roads and schools. Any negative impact on the construction industry in Northern Ireland could have knock on effects in other industry and other areas of society.