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Snippet Contents:

It is what was not spoken about at the meeting that concerns me. As I said previously, the decrease in the value of sterling is seriously impacting on small businesses right around the country who are exporting to Britain and the North of Ireland. Such people are experiencing a reduction in income. That issue and the impact of Brexit that is already being felt must be highlighted to the foreign affairs Ministers and others in Europe.
Farmers will be affected right around the hills, valleys and glens of this country and when farmers are affected, all the businesses that feed off them will be adversely affected as well. That issue must be highlighted.
The motor industry is already starting to suffer. There is a decline in car sales because cars are being imported from across the water and from the North of Ireland as they can be bought more cheaply there due to the reduction in the value of sterling.
IBEC has already said the regions will suffer following Brexit. When it talks about "the regions" I understand it to mean rural areas. It has been said that urban areas will prosper. The Taoiseach must understand that urban regions are already doing very well but rural areas are not and if they are affected any further it could mean a significant decline in population as there will be an exodus of people leaving rural areas.
I note the Paris Agreement was discussed at the European Council. It is important to bear in mind that one cannot get blood out of a turnip. Is that all that was gained by the talks in Europe last week? I am concerned that farmers, who face a reduction in the amount of money they get for their produce, will be expected to pay for the Paris Agreement. I do not believe there is any hurry attached to the Paris Agreement because as I said previously in the Chamber, we cannot do anything about the weather. God above is in charge of that. If farmers and business people are expected to pay more in carbon tax because of the Paris Agreement they will be hurt more. I repeat; one cannot get blood out of a turnip.
There is much talk about exemptions for the North of Ireland and that is fine, but we must remember that we are representing the Twenty-six Counties and the people who are trying to live and work in this country and they need to be looked after. If we do not do that then we will not be here either.