Ever since news broke in the early hours of Friday 23 June 2016 of the result in the UK referendum on leaving the EU, Brexit has maintained a constant presence in the news cycle to varying degrees of prominence. Yet now, approximately one year before the current deadline for the UK's departure from the European Union, many businesses have yet to engage in any degree of preparation or planning for the substantial and permanent structural change that Brexit will bring to the Irish economy.
Why might this be? With the to and fro of the Article 50 negotiations, the publication of position papers that are high on sentiment but lacking in detail, there is still a great deal of uncertainty as to the final outcome of the Article 50 negotiation process and what the ultimate impact of Brexit may be. Furthermore, the transition period contemplated by the draft withdrawal agreement will ensure a certain degree of business as usual until 31 December 2020. In those circumstances, it is easy to understand why businesses might not have paid much attention to Brexit to date. However, at Ronan Daly Jermyn, we believe that there are four key messages that businesses should heed as they consider their approach to managing the impact of Brexit on their businesses.
NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT
The first of these is to act now. For many companies and sectors, Brexit has already happened (or at least the impact of the UK's vote to leave the EU in June of last year is being felt). Take for example the mushroom production sector, which has seen firms exit the market and consolidation owing to the impact of currency volatility on what is an already tight margin business. While you may not need (or indeed be able) to take specific action right now, our advice would be nonetheless to start thinking about Brexit, its impact on your business and what steps from a legal perspective you may need to take in due course.
BREXIT MEANS BREXIT
The second message is that Brexit means Brexit. Notwithstanding the criticism that was levelled at this circuitous statement from Theresa May's Lancaster House speech, there is a certain simplicity to it. Much of the discussion has focussed on possible models for the future relationship between the EU and the UK. There has been much discussion of the features of the Norwegian Model, the Swiss Model, Turkish Customs Union and CETA, the possibility of a Hard Brexit or Soft Brexit. However, regardless of the type of Brexit and no matter how...