The Ibec-CBI Northern Ireland Joint Business Council (JBC), the voice of business across the island of Ireland, has said the combination of the ongoing Covid challenge on the island and Brexit has demonstrated the growing importance for substantive all-island collaboration to address the collective challenges our economies face.
At the annual 'JBC Business on a Connected Island Conference', this year taking place virtually, the groups outlined that cross-border co-operation in recent years has led to collective benefits in a multitude of areas ranging from environmental collaboration, accident and emergency services, education, energy, tourism, recreation, social cohesion and transport.
The council say such benefits are being legally protected in the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol but at risk of being eroded by a no deal Brexit. The JBC say the two jurisdictions must work together more effectively to secure long-term strategic investment opportunities that will enhance competitiveness and productivity of the all-island economy and fuel recovery.
The council say such cross-border collaboration will not only be imperative in efforts in overcoming and recovering from Covid, but will play a central role in adapting to the economic and social challenges posed by the new North/South dynamic that will emerge in the event that Ireland and the UK fail to reach a trade agreement.
The JBC say it is vital that inadequate coordination on Covid across the island doesn’t constrain the options available in both jurisdictions to ultimately combat the virus.
Speaking ahead of the event, Ibec CEO, Danny McCoy said, "Both Ireland and Northern Ireland have benefited economically because of the improvements brought about by peace, stability and an invisible border for goods, services, labour and finance. However, a disruptive Brexit will undoubtedly change the North/South dynamic and businesses must be ready to adapt."