CLONES, Ireland (Reuters) – Weeks before Britain is due to leave the European Union, the owner of a filling station and hardware store that straddles the only land border between the two jurisdictions has given up trying to prepare.
Eamon Fitzpatrick, whose service station is partly in Ireland and partly in the British province of Northern Ireland, fears he may have to change his business and push up prices after Brexit – which could also trigger a revival of smuggling.
Idea - Scenario - March - Exit - Delay
But he says he can hardly prepare because he has no idea which scenario will play out on March 29: a chaotic exit, a delay, or a smooth transition period.
“It’s like asking somebody: ‘There’s a 10-horse race – which horse is gonna win?'”
Policy - U-turns
Policy U-turns have gone from monthly to daily, he said.
“Up until these last six or eight months, I took a greater interest in it to see what was going on or trying to follow it. Now I’ve kind-of given up.”
Survey - Monday - Allied - Banks - Percent
A survey published on Monday by Allied Irish Banks suggested he was not alone, finding that over 50 percent of small and medium businesses in Ireland and Northern Ireland had not even started preparing for Brexit.
Fitzpatrick’s station, which employs 20 people, has been running for two decades, and has more than once taken advantage of currency and tax fluctuations to offer cheaper fuel to people on one side of the border or the other; Ireland uses euros, Britain – pounds.
EUROS - OR - POUNDS - SIR
EUROS OR POUNDS, SIR?
Ireland’s accession to the European bloc in 1973 removed the need for customs checks on the border.
Wake Up To Breaking News!