Derry City and Strabane District Council in conjunction with Donegal County Council has published a research document on the potential impact of Brexit on the North West City Region.

The report entitled: 'Initial Analysis of the Challenges and Opportunities of Brexit for the Derry City and Strabane and Donegal County Council areas - The North West City Region, February 2017' is the result of collaborative work by Derry City and Strabane District Council, Donegal County Council and Ulster University Economic Policy Centre with assistance from Queen’s University Belfast and Trinity College Dublin.

The document, which brings together the views of a broad spectrum of experts in the education, health, business, agriculture, aquaculture, tourism, retailing, financial services, logistics and construction sectors, considers the wide ranging implications of a land border between an EU member state and a non-EU member state, taking into account the high levels of integration unique to this region.

While the results of Brexit will have differential geographical impact across these islands, the effect on the North West Region, the fourth largest City Region within Ireland, may be significant and sustained unless coherent, decisive, mitigating actions are put in place.

The report enables the Councils to consider the socio-economic characteristics of the region, identify gaps in the knowledge base, consult with key stakeholders and evidence-share with agencies, voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors and the business community.

The report also explores the broader impact on the UK and Ireland and some initial estimates of the economic effects, particularly during the transitional period as the Brexit arrangements are finalised.

Chief Executive of Derry City and Strabane District Council, John Kelpie, said that while the report looks at some major issues, the research provides strong foundations for the city region’s pre-emptive strategy in tackling the Brexit issue going forward.

He said as part of the consultation the consensus was that there should continue to be free movement of goods, services and people across the region.

“Our research demonstrates that it is imperative to ensure that our strategic priorities are realised in relation to connectivity, skills development and infrastructure provision to strengthen our competitive position in what is likely to be a potentially more challenging environment in a post-Brexit era. Key concerns include the loss of the European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund – from which N. Ireland receives twice as much the UK average per head. This will particularly effect the local community, voluntary and social sector with implications for the continuation of services, and one of the strong messages our councils will be conveying is the need for guarantees that equivalent funding will be provided from other sources.

“The impact of leaving the Single Market and the implications of trade losses with the UK under World Trade Organisation tariffs will be significant. There will also be additional pressure on enterprise and export with any level of additional red tape associated with a hard border, so we will be making a robust case for seamless movement between jurisdictions. This report provides a platform for our two councils to strongly voice our shared concerns. Moving forwards the team will continue to revise the report as more information becomes available to ensure that the area is in a position to present a unified case to both governments on the specific actions required to both mitigate the impact of this challenge and maximise the opportunities resulting from it as the situation develops.

He added: “As a council we will also be proactively working to address existing issues through our Strategic Inclusive Growth Plan to strengthen our infrastructure, skills base and economy and our ability to absorb any of the coming changes. This joint work will be on-going as the nature of the UK’s exit from the EU becomes clearer. We are beginning to explore opportunities emergent from Brexit including a number of localised solutions such as the development of a Cross-Border Free Trade Zone within the North West City Region to mitigate the potential impact of Brexit while maximising any benefits of the UK’s exit from the EU. We will continue to engage with all of those who live and work in the region and would welcome any further comments that you may have in response to this report.”

The report is available on the Council website at – http://www.derrystrabane.com/Subsites/Strategic-Growth/Publications

Anyone who has feedback or comments on the report is urged to email them to strategicgrowth@derrystrabane.com or strategicgrowth@donegalcoco.ie

If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Now editorial team. Between 9am and 5pm Monday to Sunday please call 074 9112712. Between 5pm and midnight please call or text 086 792 2103. Or you can email news@donegalnow.com at any time.