Brexit - what now for PR in Ireland?

Brexit - what now for PR in Ireland?

  posted on   |    written by Jim Walsh

Today there will be two water cooler topics in businesses throughout Ireland. One is the Euro 2016 loss to France and the other the loss of the UK to the EU.

While Ireland had to play with 10 men following a sending off, the EU now has only 27 countries in play because the UK has walked off the pitch.

Disappointment over the first will dissipate in the coming weeks but disappointment, not to mention anger and confusion over Brexit, will take much longer because its effect will be felt in the country for a long time to come.

Unfortunately as of now no one knows just exactly what the economic or political future holds.

But there is no doubt that some sectors of Irish business will suffer from Brexit, while others may benefit.

The IT, Pharma and financial services sectors could offer opportunities if Ireland increases its Foreign Direct Investment or if UK financial services companies see a value in operating out of Ireland.

On the other hand indigenous companies with significant exports to the UK in areas such as food and agri-business will find it tougher to compete. As will organisations in the tourism and leisure area where a major number of their customers come from the UK.

Whatever happens will obviously have a knock-on effect on PR and other professional services organisations that have both Irish and UK clients.

While their clients are trying to work out the impact on their businesses, they will have to do likewise.

For Irish PR agencies such analysis will be influenced by whether they are independent entities or part of an international or a UK group.

Every business in Ireland, which is linked in any way with the UK, is in a limbo period just now and could be for a while.

But no matter what business you are in, it is a time for holding your nerve, not making any rash decisions and certainly not investing or expanding based on a guesstimates about what may or may not happen to the Irish and UK economies in the coming months.

That is not to say that professional services companies have to sit back and wait for others to dictate our future.

In the world of PR it is time to practice what we preach and prepare in the way we would advise our clients to manage an issue or crisis.

While discussions and negotiations at a political level get underway, we need to be discussing with and understanding what our clients are thinking and how they see the consequences of Brexit for them.

We also need to be communicating with staff business peers and, dare I say it, competitors.

The Irish government has published its Brexit contingency plan. It involves a lot of information gathering, tracking issues and discussion with a host of state, political and business bodies.

It is the type of approach all Irish PR agencies and their representative bodies should take.



Illustration: Arend van Dam


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