Matheson urges businesses to plan ahead for ‘all Brexit options’



The head of Irish law firm Matheson has warned businesses to make contingency plans for all Brexit options as delays in the political process increase the risk of a hard Brexit.

Managing partner Michael Jackson spoke at a Brexit summit hosted by the Financial Times in London yesterday, alongside European minister Helen McEntee.

Speaking at the summit, Mr Jackson said: “While one might expect a coolness to Brexit in the City, it is remarkable that just four per cent of delegates at the cross-sectoral FT Brexit Summit in London think that the UK would be better off after Brexit.

“In many ways, this reflects the challenges businesses are facing as they deal with the immediate consequences of planning for all Brexit scenarios. While all parties still hope for a deal that accommodates all sides and which builds on the strong bonds that already exist between Ireland and the UK - and the UK and the rest of the EU - the reality today, nine months out from the target date for a final deal, is that businesses have to make Brexit planning choices and are making them now. They can’t wait for the political process to catch up with their business planning challenges.”

He said Matheson has seen “a significant increase in Brexit matters” from a broader range of sectors in the last six months.

Mr Jackson added: “In the first year or so after the Brexit vote, financial services companies were to the fore in planning for a post Brexit landscape and started looking at Ireland as a base for new operations. However, in the last six months we have seen an increase in new matters related to the pharma, food and tech sectors.

“Business can’t wait any longer, they are making the decisions now to Brexit-proof their operations. The increase we have seen in activity from businesses planning for a Brexit aftermath is consistent with the poll of delegates taken at the FT Brexit Summit - which found that just four per cent of attendees believed that the UK would be better off after Brexit and 96 per cent disagreed with that statement.”