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‘Brexit Day’ countdown sees Irish business leaders focused on disparate EU and UK relationships – IoD survey

28 Jan 2020

Relationship with UK “a cause for some concern and needs to be addressed”

Nearly double the number of business directors believe Ireland’s status in a post-Brexit EU will be enhanced (39%) than diminished (20%), and an overwhelming majority (89%) believes Ireland needs to actively address improving relations with the UK after the latter leaves the EU on Friday, 31st January, so-called ‘Brexit Day’.

These are two of the key findings in the latest quarterly Director Sentiment Monitor, conducted among its members at the end of Q4 2019, and published today, by the Institute of Directors in Ireland. 

Maura Quinn, CEO, Institute of Directors in Ireland, commented:

Business leaders have told us consistently in our quarterly surveys that they are well prepared for Brexit despite all the uncertainty of the past year, in particular. While it is encouraging that the Ireland-EU relationship has held firm during the Brexit process to date and is looked upon with some optimism by directors, it is Ireland's relationship with the UK that is a cause for some concern and needs to be addressed, after what has been an arduous and challenging Brexit process.

In other conclusive findings in the survey, 88% of business leaders believe that Brexit’s impact on the Irish economy will be negative in the short-term, while just 6% believe it will be positive in the short term. 

On a more optimistic note, 60% of respondents to the IoD survey believe that the financial performance of their organisation will improve in 2020. In Q4 2019, 30% of business leaders were more optimistic than they were in Q3 2019, when the figure was just 9%.

The survey also includes findings on Brexit’s likely long-term impact on the Irish economy and business strategic planning, as well as the prognosis for market growth in 2020 (see below).

Key findings

Key findings of the IoD Ireland Director Sentiment Monitor survey for Q4 2019 include:

  • 89% of business leaders think Ireland needs to actively address improving relations with the UK in a post-Brexit scenario.
  • 39% of directors believe Ireland's status in the EU post-Brexit will be enhanced rather than diminished (20%). 25% believe it is difficult to judge how the UK’s departure will impact Ireland’s status in the EU.
  • 88% of business leaders believe that Brexit’s impact on the Irish economy will be negative in the short-term but this falls to 47% when they are asked about the long-term.
  • Just 6% believe that Brexit’s impact on the Irish economy will be positive in the short-term, which rises to 29% when applied to the long-term.
  • 66% of IoD members say that the uncertainty surrounding Brexit has impacted their strategic planning.
  • 60% of business leaders believe that the financial performance of their organisation will improve in 2020, while just 19% believe it will not.

In Q4 2019, 30% of directors were more optimistic than they were in Q3 2019 (when the figure was just 9%) but were still slightly less optimistic than the same period in Q4 2018 (32%).

The IoD monitors business sentiment in Ireland on a quarterly basis throughout the year across a range of consistent criteria and topical issues in its Director Sentiment Monitor. View the latest survey report for Q4 2019

In addition, IoD Ireland recently released the results of a pre-General Election Snap Poll, which found that another 'Confidence and Supply Arrangement’, by which the previous government operated, is overwhelmingly the least favoured option amongst Irish business leaders following the General Election 2020.