AIB chairman fears Brexit “tragedy” for Ireland

Richard Pym says youth vote is key to UK staying in EU...

AIB chairman fears Brexit “tragedy” for Ireland

Richard Pym being made a CBE by Queen Elizabeth II. Picture by: Jonathan Brady / PA Archive/Press Association Images

AIB chairman Richard Pym has voiced his concerns that Brexit could spell bad news for Ireland.

Pym predicted that the country’s economic recovery could be undone as a result of the UK leaving the EU.

Speaking at a Dublin debate on Brexit this morning, the 66-year-old Englishman said:

"The Irish economy has recovered absolutely brilliantly from the recession and the Irish people made sacrifices to make the economic adjustment which have led to the very good situation that is emerging now.

"It would be a tragedy if all that hard work were to be dislocated by Britain leaving the EU and the resulting economic affects on Ireland".

He called on people to encourage family and friends in the UK to vote against the proposal in June, and noted that a strong turnout among younger voters was vital to avoid an “extremely perilous position”.

AIB is just one of the Irish banks putting a contingency plan in place in the event of Brexit.

While Pym stated that their success is inextricably linked with the country’s, he left the question of what a ‘Yes’ vote could mean for the timing of AIB’s initial public offering (IPO) to the Department of Finance.

Ken Clarke, former British Chancellor of the Exchequer, also took part in the debate and his words chimed with Pym’s when stating that Brexit wasn't just a concern for Britain:

"I think it would pose enormous problems for the Republic of Ireland as well and so far most electors in Britain have not been made aware of that."

Simon McKeever, CEO of the Irish Exporters Association, said that the negative effects were already being felt:

"The uncertainty ahead of the UK referendum has caused a sell-off in sterling, resulting in our exports being 10.5% more expensive in the UK than they were only last November.

"Should the UK vote to leave the EU and subsequently fail to secure equally favourable trade terms with it, the knock-on effect on Ireland could be quite damaging in the medium term".