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Brexit poses some challenge for Co Clare but also provides opportunities for foreign direct investment (FDI) and tourism, a recent meeting has heard.

Councillors Pat McMahon, Alan O’Callaghan and PJ Ryan questioned what plans Clare County Council has in place in case of a disorderly Brexit “to deal with the fallout”.

Noting that “a lot of uncertainty” still surrounds international and national negotiations on Brexit, Noeleen Fitzgerald Acting Head of Finance with the Council confirmed preparations have progressed within the local authority “to address the scenario’s that will emerge once there is an agreement. Whatever the outcome, this council’s is likely to have to address very real effects of Brexit but equally there are opportunities to be explored”.

“There are challenges for import and export in business, housing provision, tourism market, travel arrangements, but equally there are opportunities that will be explored in the areas of tourism and foreign direct investment”.

Clare Echo Planning

Clare’s Local Enterprise Office is also engaging with “three Brexit special consultants that will be responsible for engaging on a one to one basis with those enterprises that we identify as potentially being impacted by Brexit. These specialists will also be available to meet specific individual requests we may receive,” she confirmed.

A strategy is being put together by the Economic Directorate of the Council focused on economic development in the diaspora. “Many multinational companies are domiciled in the UK and serve their European markets from the UK. With the increased transit costs envisaged there is an opportunity to win some FDI in Clare to service their European Markets,” Fitzgerald said.

Regarding tourism, she stated Brexit may have an impact on “inward tourism from some markets based on exchange rates or a perceived return of a border. But equally there are opportunities here that are being explored. Passengers currently transiting through the UK, particularly from the USA, may present an opportunity to win new business. The tourism strategy will address tourism as a whole and opportunities to be explored. The council will continue to monitor the Brexit negotiations and address the challenges and opportunities that emerge”.

In response, Cllr McMahon commented, “We’re trying to stay positive but at the same time we have to allow for any situation that may occur. The daily situation in Britain seems to be changing with the hustings”.

Cllr PJ Ryan felt the views expressed from Fitzgerald “shows that Clare County Council are proactive rather than reactive. No local authority can do more than what Noeleen Fitzgerald has stated here. There are loads of things which may and may not happen”.

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