SIPTU representatives have today (Thursday, 20th December) highlighted the possible impact a no-deal Brexit could have on working people in Ireland, following the publication of contingency plans by the European Commission and the Irish government respectively. SIPTU Deputy General Secretary, Gerry McCormack says: “The agri-food, fisheries, aviation and road transport, pharma-chemicals, electrical machinery, retail and wholesale business have been identified as the most at risk from a non-deal Brexit. Additional funding has been directed by the Government to vulnerable businesses to help them prepare, and if necessary diversify, their operations. “However, there has been scant mention of extra support for workers who could be effected. Ireland must establish a contingency fund to enable workers to adjust post-Brexit. Relying on the EU Globalisation Fund is insufficient, as it is only applicable to very large firms.” SIPTU Manufacturing Division Organiser, Teresa Hannick, said: “There is particular concern among workers in the border region. While the government has reiterated its commitment to avoiding a hard border on the island, there is no clarity on how this can be achieved if the UK leaves the European Union under World Trade Organisation rules.  She added: “This could cause major disruption to north-south trade and put jobs at risk.  The requirement for animal and food checks will also put great strain on east-west agri-food trading.” SIPTU Researcher, Loraine Mulligan, said: “The EU contingency plans put in place a temporary fix for UK flights and is an attempt to guarantee citizens’ rights. However, the ball is really in the UK Parliament’s court. They must pull back from the brink by either accepting the withdrawal deal or by extending or unilaterally halting the Article 50 process.”