East Antrim Alliance welcomed business representatives to a breakfast at Carrickfergus Golf Club on Friday morning.
Guest speakers were Simon McDowell, a director of Kilwaughter Minerals, Larne, Dr. Stephen Farry MLA, former Employment and Learning minister and deputy leader of the Alliance Party and Naomi Long MEP, Alliance Party leader.
East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson welcomed business owners, employers and Alliance Party representatives to the breakfast, which focused on the ever-present issue of Brexit.
Mr. Dickson outlined his fears over what he described as the “unnecessary and disastrous consequences of a ‘no-deal Brexit’ on the local and national economy”.
Mr. McDowell notedthe success of Kilwaughter Minerals as a local and UK business and he outlined the work undertaken by the company to “give back to the community”.
Mr. McDowell also pointed out specific concerns regarding the movement of goods in his sector in a post-Brexit world, with “added red tape”, he suggested a “serious problem, particularly for small businesses”.
Alliance Party deputy leader, Stephen Farry MLA said he believed that a “sensible Brexit could still be achieved if people resolve to work towards it”.
He pointed out that Northern Ireland can be a “bridge, not a barrier between trading blocs”.
In fact, in such a context, he suggested that there is “considerable opportunity for the local economy, whereas a ‘no-deal’ scenario would be extremely damaging”.
The Party leader stated that there was “a lot of goodwill towards Northern Ireland in Europe, and an interest in ensuring peace by Parliamentarians across Europe”.
However, she noted that many felt that the United Kingdom was increasingly “losing influence” and she expressed concern that the Brexit process has become an “exercise in seeking blame for the negative consequences that will eventually arise”.