How will Brexit affect the Liberties?

As we go to press, Britain is at last due to leave the European Union, though whether and how it happens is still uncertain.

The journey has seen many proposals, including the introduction of a physical border in Ireland. However, as of right now, the final shape of Brexit is still unknown and as a result, there is uncertainty over the full scope of how it will affect us. 

The general consensus of businesses in the Liberties is that they have no idea how Brexit will affect them. Many butchers, although unsure, felt that it would affect their suppliers rather than themselves – suppliers who may supply meat to the UK. 

For pubs and bars in the area, the impact is expected to relate to tourism, rather than the actual products they sell. The custodian of the Brazen Head at Bridge Street Lower, John Hoynes, said he thought it would have no impact on the price of alcohol as we produce most of our beer and whiskey here in Ireland.

The Brazen Head on Bridge Street Lower. Photo by Orla Whelan.

However, he hoped that it may encourage the Government reduce the taxes we pay, as he claimed we pay the “highest excise duties in Europe”. He said, “I think it’ll galvanize it that we have to do things a bit better in this country.” 

Tourism is expected to be a major issue for businesses in  Dublin, and this includes the Liberties. Green Party councillor for South West Inner City, Michael Pidgeon, called it a “disaster” for all parties involved. 

“Dublin 8 relies heavily on the tourist trade and I’d worry that reduced tourism from the UK could present challenges for us,” Pidgeon said.

Other business people in the Liberties said they felt in a relatively ‘safe place’ when it comes to Brexit. 

“Our business doesn’t rely heavily on tourists and the majority of our suppliers are local so the hope is that it will be small,” Kelley O Malley, from Drop Dead Twice, a bar on Francis Street, said.

The effects of Brexit on residents, as opposed to business, in the Liberties is yet to be determined.  
Megan Hyland, who lives in the area, said it was “terrible to leave the EU”. She added: “It’d be a shame to put a border, physical or otherwise, between us, especially when there’s so many young people working in the UK and historically coming back and forth. It would just be terrible to ruin those opportunities.”

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