03 Mar 2017
While Northern Ireland shares similarities to other UK nations in regards of Brexit, it is in many ways unique. The nation shares a physical land border with another state, one that will remain in the EU after our exit. We focus on some of the most important facets of Northern Ireland’s situation below.
The Common Travel Area
The Common Travel Area (CTA), is an agreement between the British and Irish Governments that has been in force since the 1920’s. Although the agreement is not enshrined in legislation, the agreement is contained in the Treaty of Amsterdam. Both Governments have agreed reciprocal VISA arrangements and to share immigration data.
As the UK pulls out of the European Union, the issue of immigration between the North and South becomes a sticking point for negotiations. As a member of the EU, the Republic of Ireland is technically unable to negotiate a bilateral deal with the UK on its immigration policy. By restricting the flow of goods and services between the North and South, this could have a damaging impact on Northern Ireland's economy and cause a ripple effect across the rest of the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
Northern Ireland employs 28,500 people in the farming industry, which includes processing and packaging, and is one of the main industrial sectors in the country. The NI Executive targeted the sector as one of the main drivers in its Economic Strategy and established an industry-led Agri-food Strategy Board in 2012. With the removal of common agricultural policy (CAP), the sector will need clarity on the type of support mechanisms it can expect in order to maintain its current funding levels and productivity.
Read more: Northern Ireland and the EU referendum
The agricultural output of Northern Ireland by sector compared to the rest of the UK, highlighting the importance of the sector to their economy.
Jobs in the construction sector in Northern Ireland have fallen by over a third since 2007. The current levels of construction output are roughly 39% lower than the levels reported before the 2007 economic crash. In the first quarter of 2016, the Northern Ireland construction output increased by 3.4% compared to Q4 in 2015.
There are some green shoots of recovery here, but they are fragile and need nurturing. As a primary sector, the next Northern Ireland government must carefully monitor and help manage construction, working with industry leaders to channel strategic funds and opportunities.
As our own Residential Market Survey suggested, the Northern Ireland housing market has experienced a slow-down since the result of Brexit. Our residential property spokesman Samuel Dickey said the survey "gives an early indication of what is happening in the market and it is not surprising that uncertainty in the wider economy is impacting on housing market sentiment in some areas".
Download and read the latest UK Residential Market Survey
Although the initial shock of Brexit will undoubtedly have a negative impact on the market, the outlook for the first half of 2017 was strong, with the market stabilising once the shock of Brexit had passed.
Read more: Northern Ireland housing market in major slowdown following Brexit vote, RICS find
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