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Hundreds of business people turned out for this mornings 'Brexit: What's Next' Breakfast briefing in the Canal Court Hotel.

Visitors to the event organised by Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade in partnership with Eversheds Sutherland heard Peter Curran, Commercial Partner, Eversheds Sutherland speaking.

Liam Hannaway, right, CEO, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council speaking at the Brexit Briefing along with Mark Carruthers and Clare Guinness, Chief Executive, Warrenpoint Port. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Liam Hannaway, right, CEO, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council speaking at the Brexit Briefing along with Mark Carruthers and Clare Guinness, Chief Executive, Warrenpoint Port. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

Mr Curran spoke of the challenges for local companies and how potentially the law will not help if you get into difficulties. "The law may well not assist anyone who's caught out by Brexit and that is why you need to assess the potential impact of Brexit on your contractural relationships now and see if you can take any steps to protect against these. There may be need for some urgent contract re-negotiation"

Visitors to the Canal Court in Newry for the' Brexit: What's Next' Breakfast briefing . Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Visitors to the Canal Court in Newry for the' Brexit: What's Next' Breakfast briefing . Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

While the conversation was mostly negative Mr Curran added  "There will undoubtedly be opportunities created by the UK leaving the EU and a good deal would place Northern Irish companies in a great position to trade with both the UK and the EU and the rest of the world. Newry has a long tradition dealing with economic pressures associated with its proximity to the border. It's trading relationship with the republic has been constantly evolving over the years and no doubt that the entreupenarial spirit that is the hallmark of Newry for many years will enable it to adapt again."

Lisa Bryson, Employment & Immigration Partner, Eversheds Sutherland and Mark Carruthers enjoy a rare lighter moment at the Brexit event in the Canal Court. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Lisa Bryson, Employment & Immigration Partner, Eversheds Sutherland and Mark Carruthers enjoy a rare lighter moment at the Brexit event in the Canal Court. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

"But the challenges this time could be significant. Brexit is the greatest change to the economy, the constitution and the legal system of the United Kingdom in half a century. It will have significant consequences on all of our working lives for the foreseeable future."

Other panel members at the event were Clare Guinness, Chief Executive, Warrenpoint Port; Liam Hannaway, CEO, Newry, Mourne and Down Council; Stephen Kelly, Chief Executive, Manufacturing NI and Lisa Bryson, Employment & Immigration Partner, Eversheds Sutherland.

Speakers at the 'Brexit: What's Next' Breakfast briefing in the Canal Court Hotel. From left: Stephen Kelly, Chief Executive, Manufacturing NI; Lisa Bryson, Employment & Immigration Partner, Eversheds Sutherland; Mark Carruthers; Clare Guinness, Chief Executive, Warrenpoint Port; Liam Hannaway, CEO, Newry, Mourne and Down Council and Peter Curran, Commercial Partner, Eversheds Sutherland. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Speakers at the 'Brexit: What's Next' Breakfast briefing in the Canal Court Hotel. From left: Stephen Kelly, Chief Executive, Manufacturing NI; Lisa Bryson, Employment & Immigration Partner, Eversheds Sutherland; Mark Carruthers; Clare Guinness, Chief Executive, Warrenpoint Port; Liam Hannaway, CEO, Newry, Mourne and Down Council and Peter Curran, Commercial Partner, Eversheds Sutherland. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

Liam Hannaway, CEO, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council said "I think lack of knowledge is the biggest concern. If somebody tells us what the scenario is we can deal with it."

Speaking on how the council is also a business, Mr Hannaway spoke of some of the potential issues including bin collections "If you're collecting bins around Forkhill or Culloville you are actually crossing the border. Thats an issue for me, how I mitigate against that."

The council CEO added "Dublin's going to benefit out of Brexit irrespective of what happens and I think there is a potential for places like Newry to benefit out of that. We have seen the benefits from exchange rates. We are seeing big numbers of tourists. Tourism spend in this district has increased by 45% in the last three years"

Clare Guinness, Chief Executive, Warrenpoint Port spoke of the port's preparations. "What we have been doing since Christmas is sitting down with the council and Department for Infrastructure, PSNI etc and ramping up the no deal plans"

Taking part in the ‘Brexit: What’s Next’ business breakfast event hosted by the Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade sponsored by law firm Eversheds Sutherland at the Canal Court Hotel and Spa were, Liam Hannaway, Chief Executive, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Clare Guinness, Chief Executive, Warrenpoint Harbour, Paul Convery, Newry Chamber President, Peter Curran, Commercial Partner, Eversheds Sutherland, Lisa Bryson, Partner, Employment & Immigration, Eversheds Sutherland and Stephen Kelly, Chief Executive Manufacturing NI. Over 120 guests attended the event hosted by broadcaster Mark Carruthers.
Taking part in the ‘Brexit: What’s Next’ business breakfast event hosted by the Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade sponsored by law firm Eversheds Sutherland at the Canal Court Hotel and Spa were, Liam Hannaway, Chief Executive, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Clare Guinness, Chief Executive, Warrenpoint Harbour, Paul Convery, Newry Chamber President, Peter Curran, Commercial Partner, Eversheds Sutherland, Lisa Bryson, Partner, Employment & Immigration, Eversheds Sutherland and Stephen Kelly, Chief Executive Manufacturing NI. Over 120 guests attended the event hosted by broadcaster Mark Carruthers. Photograph: Kelvin Boyes

On the potential of a No Deal Ms Guinness added  "It is a nightmare scenario. It is everybody's nightmare scenario. I can't see how any aspect of no deal would be positive. It's hard to be negative but at the end of the day the reality is, I really do still hope that something will get sorted out before the 29th of March but we have to plan for the fact that it won't now and every day that goes on that risk increases."

 

 

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