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Diposting oleh On 21.00

Revealed: Northern Ireland's huge £1.4bn trade surplus with Republic

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Revealed: Northern Ireland's huge £1.4bn trade surplus with Republic
Billions cross the Northern Ireland border on a yearly basis.
Billions cross the Northern Ireland border on a yearly basis.

By Jonathan Bell

Northern Ireland trade to the Republic of Ireland is almost double that of what goes in the opposite direction, a new report suggests.

The report of cross border trade found that exports - excluding the financial and farming sectors - to the Republic were estimated to be worth £3.4billion to the Northern Ireland economy while imports were thought to be worth £2bn in a year.

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The findings come in a report surveying the cross-border supply chain by the Northern Ireland Statistic and Research Agency (NISRA) which was commissioned by the Department for the Economy.

It found there were almost 1.2million cross-border deliveries in a year with nearly three-quarters of exports made by small businesses with fewer than 50 staff.

However, the overall figures are likely higher as only VAT registered businesses were included in the survey, meaning almost 60,000 small traders or those self-employed were excluded.

< p>It is the first detailed report of its kind.

In a statement the Department of Economy said: "The new survey and analysis paint a rich picture of the web of cross-border connections and trade between Northern Ireland businesses and businesses and consumers in Ireland.

"This is, however, only a partial picture of the movement of goods across the border, as Northern Ireland relies heavily on moving and receiving goods through ports in Ireland for its trade with Great Britain.

"Previous estimates have indicated that Northern Ireland sales of goods to Great Britain are worth nearly four times that of sales of goods to Ireland of which the current exercise does not take account. North-South supply chains cannot be considered in isolation from trade with Great Britain and this remains an area for further research."

Cross_border_Northern_Ireland_trade_Brexit.JPG
New figures suggest millions of deliveries cross the Irish border every year. Credits NISRA.

NISRA surveyed Northern Ireland businesses who trade with the Republic of Ireland and analysed HMRC trade microdata in order to provide more detailed information on the frequency and value of cross-border movements of goods and the extent of cross border supply chain linkages to inform EU Exit discussions.

Provisional estimates indicate Northern Ireland businesses - in the non-financial and non-farm sectors - made some 758,000 cross border export deliveries to the Republic. This was estimated to be worth some £3.4billion to the Northern Ireland economy in 2016.

In addition, there were approximately 410,000 import deliveries in 2015 from Ireland to Northern Irela nd businesses worth nearly £2bn in the sectors covered by the survey.

The majority (74%) of the (758,000) export deliveries in 2016 were made by small businesses (with fewer than 50 employees) with a third carried out by micro businesses (with fewer than 10 employees).

Survey paints rich picture of the web of cross-border connections and trade. Department for the Economy

Much of the volume of Northern Ireland businesses’ cross-border trade was comprised of low-value trips but these accounted for just less than one fifth of the total value of exports.

In contrast just over 20% of Northern Ireland businesses who export to Ireland made deliveries to Ireland worth more than £4,500 per trip. Such businesses accounted for most (82%) of the value of Northern Ireland’s exports to Ireland (£3.4bn) in 2016.

Almost 40% of Northern Ireland trade to the Republic is comprised of "intermediate" product s - that is those that are required for the production of other goods.

On a similar basis, slightly less (62%) of Northern Ireland’s trade with the Rest of the EU also showed evidence of such supply chain activity, as did 53% of Northern Ireland’s trade with the Rest of the World. However Northern Ireland’s trade with these destinations was more heavily influenced by trade in capital goods (21%, 23% of trade respectively) than Northern Ireland’s trade with Ireland (7% of such trade).

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Diposting oleh On 20.17

The Irish Times view on Ireland's climate policy: A shameful record of inaction

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar admitted last January to the European Parliament that Ireland was a “laggard” in fulfilling its climate change treaty obligations, and that he was “not proud” of this. In just five months since then, international evidence has mounted that climate change is accelerating even faster than anticipated. Meanwhile, reports have piled up indicating that Ireland is moving more slowly to mitigate its causes than critics of government inaction feared.

So far, there is no reason to believe that this Taoiseach takes the issue any more seriously than his predecessor. Enda Kenny set the bar very low when he waxed eloquent about the unprecedented threats posed by climate change inside the Paris UNFCCC conference in 2015. He then told the Irish media outside tha t we would not meet the targets he had just agreed to.

This is the depressing context of double-speak and contradiction in which we must read the report published on Monday by the Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, an NGO supported by the European Commission. It shows that, while no EU country is yet meeting its targets, Ireland is the second-worst performing of the EU28.

Our compliance rate is 21 per cent, whereas Sweden’s is 77 per cent, Portugal’s 66, and even a country as hostile to EU regulation as the UK manages 37 per cent. Our rate is much worse than laggardly. It suggests our commitment to responding to the defining challenge of ou r century is utterly hollow. Our main concern should not be with the consequences in terms of potential direct cost for non-compliance, tough though the penalties will be. A European Commission report published last month warned that we could be charged as much as €600 million annually if we continue missing targets after 2020.

However, the really serious consequences are with us already in terms of increasingly frequent extreme weather events. Storm damage, flooding, and disruption to agricultural seasonality are already starkly evident problems, and will get much worse unless we take radical action not soon, but now.

We should be moved also by the much greater suffering visited on countries more vulnerable to climate change, such as Bangladesh and the states of sub-Saharan Africa. Here again the consequences are already sharply visible, as the Mediterranean becomes a watery cemetery for desperate climate migrants.

One has to wonder, then, what it will take for Ireland’s lack of pride to turn into shame, and for that shame to prompt meaningful action. The Government would do well to adopt the sensible recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly, which demonstrates that a well-informed public wants to see urgent measures taken to deal with climate change, and is willing to pay for them.

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Diposting oleh On 20.17

EU and Ireland issue Irish border Brexit warning to Theresa May: 'There isn't much time left'

Michel Barnier, Jean-Claude Juncker and Leo Varadkar REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

  • Irish and EU leaders warn Theresa May that time is running out to solve the Irish border.
  • "Let me blunt, there isn't much time left," Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said on Thursday morning.
  • He was backed up by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who said: "Ireland is not alone. It is backed by 26 member states... Ireland has to be part of the deal."
  • The pair gave a joint press conference in Dublin as Brexit talks remain stuck over the Irish border question.
  • LONDON â€" Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has warned Theresa May that "there isn't much time left" to find a solution to the Irish border dilemma which holds the key to a final Brexit deal.

    Speaking in Dublin alongside European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, Varadkar said a Brexit deal which doesn't include guarantees for keeping the Irish border open "is of no use to us whatsoever."

    "Let me blunt, there isn't much time left if we are to conclude an agreement and have it operational by the time the UK leaves next March," Varadkar told reporters on Thursday.

    Brexit talks are currently at an impasse over the "backstop" â€" the fallback arrangement if negotiations over a future trade deal between Britain and EU fail to solve the Irish border question. May has promised to preserve the frictionless border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, meaning there will be no checks or infrastructu re.

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    The EU wants the backstop to involve Northern Ireland staying in the single market and customs union indefinitely after Brexit. However, Prime Minister May has described this as unacceptable, while UK government ministers want the backstop to be time-limited. There can be no final deal unless this issue is solved.

    "The most important element to me is the backstop, Varadkar said on Thursday morning. "The Withdrawal Agreement without a backstop is of no use to us whatsoever."

    "It's very simple," he added

    "The UK gave the EU back in December a guarantee there'd be no hard border on the island of Ireland. In May, the prime minister wrote to the EU to say there'd be a backstop. We expect those commitments to be met in full."

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    He added that drama in Westminster this week over the "meaningful vote" amendment wasn't helping efforts to solve the Irish border conundrum, saying: "British politics isn't my concern."

    Varadkar's deputy, Tánaiste Simon Coveney, offered a blunt assessment of the UK government's progress.

    "We had asked for and looked for significant progress in June. The British government have been unable to deliver on that," he told reporters.

    The Irish government was supported by Juncker, who said:"Ireland is not alone. It is backed by 26 member states... Ireland has to be part of the deal.

    "I'm strongly against any temptation to try and isolate Ireland and not to conclude a deal on Ireland."

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    EU leaders will meet in Brussels next week for the Europ ean Council's latest summit, with Brexit set to be one of the issues on the agenda.

    Source: Google News Ireland | Netizen 24 Ireland

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Diposting oleh On 20.17

Ireland will come first in Brexit talks, says Juncker

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Junker has said that Ireland will come first in the Brexit negotiations, and that its border with Europe is a priority.

In an address to a joint sitting of the Dáil and the Seanad, Mr Juncker said that Ireland was not alone and has the backing of the 26 EU member states. He said that this will not change.

"We have Ireland backed by 26 member states and by the Commission - this will not change.

"I am strongly against any temptation to try to isolate Ireland and not to conclude a deal on Ireland. Ireland has to be part of the deal".

There was applause when Mr Juncker restated his commitment to Ireland.

"Ireland will come first... there are those that think the other 26 countries will abandon Ireland for a deal that suits them.

"Ireland's border is Europe's border and it is our pr iority."

This evening, Mr Juncker attended a dinner at Dublin Castle attended by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Earlier following a meeting with Mr Varadkar and Tánaiste Simon Coveney, Mr Juncker said that major steps had to be taken by Britain now and he hopes they will take them.

The Taoiseach said Ireland expects Britain to honour its commitments that there would not be a hard border on the island of Ireland after Brexit.

Mr Varadkar warned that there was not much time left to conclude a withdrawal agreement before the UK leaves the EU next March, and called on the UK to intensify its efforts in the time ahead.

When speaking in the Dáil, Mr Juncker warned that "the hardest part" of the Brexit agreement was "still to come".

"There is not much time to find a concrete agreement".

"We agree that there should be no r eturn to a hard border, we need to preserve north south institutions, and the Good Friday Agreement should be preserved in its entirety".

He told the Dáil that there is no deal as good as membership of the EU.

"It simply does not exist," Mr Juncker said, adding that the prospect of the UK leaving the EU without any deal at all must be prepared for.

Read more:

No withdrawal deal without border agreement - Coveney
Taoiseach accuses UK of stalling talks over Irish border
Barnier says divergences remain on Ireland in Brexit talks
Analysis: Backstop deal more remote
Q&A: What is the Brexit 'backstop'?

Border must stay 'out of sight'

In his address, Mr Juncker said that the Irish border has been "out of sight for 20 years and that is how it must stay".

"That is why we have put forward clear proposals including a backstop agreement".

He said a b espoke and tailored solution cannot fit the whole of the United Kingdom, and while the UK's proposals for a temporary customs arrangement show a willingness to make progress, they do not show how regulatory alignment would work".

"We have less than ten months to Brexit, we need more answers and fewer new questions," he added.

After his speech, the Taoiseach thanked Mr Juncker for his words of support, and said that there has been consistent recognition of the "unique position of Northern Ireland".

"We are so deeply grateful for the remarkable solidarity and support we have received from the EU institutions and fellow member states, none more so than from President Juncker," Mr Varadkar said.

"There is no stronger evidence of how small countries benefit so much from EU membership and how membership matters."

He said: "The Good Friday Agreement was made possible by shared membership of the Eur opean Union and the single market. It removed borders and differences between us.

"The removal of that foundation leaves us no less determined to protect the Good Friday Agreement, in all its parts, and in all that flows from it."

'Growing unease' over progress of negotiations

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin told Mr Junker that there is "considerable and growing unease" over the failure to move from "generalities to concrete and final agreements" in the negations.

He said that "London may in fact never come up with a credible proposal" on the border.

"We are extremely concerned about how negotiations on the Irish text have now been linked with the overall withdrawal treaty text and its provisions for final status negotiations," he added.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said Ireland needed "legal protection" and "not just kind words and sentiment" to pr event a hard border on the island of Ireland.

She said Brexit was the greatest challenge and threat to Ireland in generations.

"The potential for Brexit to cost jobs, damage our industry and to damage the welfare of our youth could not be overstated" and she described Brexit as "a Tory vanity project".

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett asked Mr Juncker for a clear commitment that there would be no return to a hard border telling him that that: "We don't trust the Tories, Can we trust you?"

Mr Junker was applauded as he responded "yes".

Meanwhile, Labour leader Brendan Howlin welcomed Mr Junker for his assurances on the border, because of reports that Ireland would be abandoned if agreement could not be found.

"That solidarity expressed so clearly by you today is fundamentally important for us and the future of our union."

Mr Howlin added that the issue needed to be se en through a wider lens than Brexit, and that a social Europe would greatly increase the chance of transforming economies on a wider scale.

This morning's meeting at Government Buildings was also attended by the EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier and European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan, where Mr Barnier stated again that there are serious divergences between the EU and the UK on the Irish border issue.

Additional Reporting: Justin McCarthy, Edel McAllister, Sinéad Hussey and agencies

Source: Google News Ireland | Netizen 24 Ireland

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Diposting oleh On 00.32

Flash flooding warning

Flash flooding warning

The National Directorate for Fire and Emergency management has issued an Amber weather warning for County Cavan due to the potential for very heavy rainfall tonight, leading to flash flooding.
Met Éireann has also issued a status orange warning with localised severe thunderstorm activity, torrential downpours, and lightning strikes forecast for Cavan and the surrounding counties between 3pm Friday afternoon and approximately 10pm Friday night.
Motorists are advised to drive according to the prevailing weather conditions and to reduce speed to an appropriate level, exercising extreme caution due to likely poor visibility.

Source: Google News