What will Brexit mean for us?

Conference is to hear how a no-deal Brexit could plunge the country back into a recession next year

A no-deal Brexit, which is “becoming more likely”, threatens to knock Ireland back into recession in 2019.

That is the view of Dr Declan Jordan, Director of the Spatial and Regional Economics Research Centre at UCC.

“We are just seven months from Brexit, and there is little evidence that the UK government has the political will or ability to agree on a deal with the EU. This leaves the Irish economy in a precarious position,” Dr Jordan said.

“The focus in Ireland on Brexit has been on the backstop agreement to prevent a hard border. There is far more at stake, however.

“The latest research shows that, among EU partners, only Irish regions are as exposed as UK regions to a no-deal Brexit.

“If the UK government continues with the nonsensical approach – that the EU needs the UK as much as the UK needs the EU – and seriously considers walking away with no deal, the Irish economy will be the major innocent casualty,” said Dr Jordan.

From Tuesday until Friday this week, UCC will host the Congress of the European Regional Science Association (ERSA), which is set to attract more than 800 delegates and generate €1.4 million for the city.

Previously hosted in cities including Vienna, Lisbon and St Petersburg, the 58th edition of the annual Congress in Cork will feature cutting-edge research on regional and urban development from across the globe and will generate more than 3000 bed-nights for the city.

Professor Patrick O’Shea, President of UCC, will welcome delegates – 95 per cent of whom will be international visitors – including participants from the OECD, the European Commission and the European Investment Bank, at the opening ceremony at UCC’s Devere Hall.

Speakers on Brexit will include Professors Raquel Ortega-Argiles (University of Birmingham), Philip McCann (University of Sheffield), Bart Los (University of Groningen) and Professor Frank van Oort (Erasmus University Rotterdam), a group which is leading a large UK-funded project analysing the regional and sectoral implications of Brexit, the most substantial work of its kind currently underway on Britain’s exit from the EU.

Having estimated the exposure of European regions to Brexit, their analysis found that “only regions in Ireland face exposure levels similar to some UK regions”, and the Republic of Ireland’s level of Brexit trade-related risk exposure is over 10 per cent of GDP.

The analysis of this project also shows that the regional impacts in the UK and the rest of the EU are substantial.

Their research for the UK finds that “Brexit will aggravate, not reduce, interregional imbalances. Local government officials in London and the south-east are less pessimistic about Brexit than those in other regions, and our research suggests that this is justified.

“Second, the fact that many of the leave-voting regions are also likely to face the most severe post-Brexit challenges also means that, in the long run, there is expected to be a profound mismatch between public expectations and economic outcomes”, the analysis added.