13/09/2016 Spotlight


13/09/2016

Hard-hitting investigations on stories in Northern Ireland. Jim Fitzpatrick dives into the Brexit aftermath, exploring how immigration curbs could affect the NI economy.


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Transcript


LineFromTo

No area in the United Kingdom will suffer more wanton destruction

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than Northern Ireland.

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I'm Jim Fitzpatrick.

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House prices will fall, food prices will rise,

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jobs will be lost.

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Economics and business was my bag at the BBC.

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The biggest domestic risk to financial stability.

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I also covered politics for years,

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but have never seen such predictions of doom.

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It could be catastrophic.

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Like many during the Brexit campaign,

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I was concerned about what would happen if we voted to leave the EU.

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Would there be border checkpoints?

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Having border controls and custom checks...

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Would there be less money and fewer jobs?

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Prices would go up, jobs would be lost,

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living standards would go down.

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I do not want to accelerate the break-up of the United Kingdom.

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The consequences would be negative.

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A supply and demand shock. Higher unemployment.

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A lengthy divorce with a very uncertain settlement at the end.

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-A pure dead weight loss.

-I think it's a risk.

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The damage done to both economies, North and South, by Brexit.

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But the world hasn't ended.

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Life, like Brexit, is rarely that simple.

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I'm here in Carlingford Lough, looking for the border.

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This could soon be the frontier between a post-Brexit UK and the EU.

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I'm not sure if it's a hard or a soft border,

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but the water's fine.

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And three months on from that vote to leave the EU,

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on the surface, everything seems relatively calm.

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But who knows what lurks beneath?

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I couldn't see the border in Carlingford,

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because here, nearly a century since partition,

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it is still not agreed.

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It's a hint, perhaps, of how complex Brexit will be.

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You can't see Brexit, either, but it's real,

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and I want to find out how we will feel its impact.

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Will we notice a difference in the money in our pockets?

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Will immigration controls hurt or help our economy?

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Further along, I catch up with a businessman

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who appeared on Spotlight before the referendum.

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He was worried that losing his access to EU workers

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would end his fish business in nearby Kilkeel.

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If I didn't have them, I wouldn't be here,

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and that's just the plain way of it.

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We find it very hard to get local labour.

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I meet John Rooney on his new oyster farm.

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I mean, you say you can't hire locally. Is that true?

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Oh, that's true.

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It's the same in every factory

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in Northern Ireland.

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Surely it can't be that hard to find a couple of locals

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to do just two days' work.

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So I propose seeing if we can find someone local

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to take a role at his fish factory for a couple of days.

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If we were to test that out,

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see if we could find a local to work in your place,

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would you be up for that?

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Oh, I have no problem. We try and employ local people.

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They just don't apply for the jobs. It doesn't matter where they're at.

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-So, John, we'll have to try the oysters now that we're here.

-Yeah.

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-Cheers, let's give it a go.

-Right.

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Mm.

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That's fresh.

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Some of John Rooney's foreign workers

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have been with him for years.

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He wants to keep employing workers like Gergana Ivanova.

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Rooney Fish, like a lot of other employers in Northern Ireland,

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tell us that they rely on migrant labour

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because they find it so hard to recruit locally.

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We're going to see if we can help.

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We're going to put our guys on the case

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to speak to the Jobcentre,

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to go out into the street, to advertise on Facebook,

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and see if we can find someone

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to work for just two days in their factory.

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But what does Brexit mean now for you and me?

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Many predicted the cost of our weekly shop would go up.

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So, has it?

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We went to the very centre of Northern Ireland,

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Cookstown, in Mid-Ulster, to find out.

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Baker Tim Anderson runs a retail and wholesale business,

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with 30 staff, from his high street shop.

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What's changed for him?

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You know, I still feel everything's the same.

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Inflation's up a wee bit. Have you noticed an increase in price?

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No, not from wholesalers as yet.

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And you're not putting up the price of bread or buns just yet?

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No, not just yet.

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Butcher John Apperly employs 100 people

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between his factory and nine high street shops,

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including this one in Cookstown.

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I asked John if shoppers have been afraid to spend post-Brexit.

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Not in our business, anyway.

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People are still coming in, doing their weekly shop.

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Prices haven't gone up

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and footfall's still good, so all's good on our front.

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Would you have any concerns about what Brexit might mean?

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We remain positive.

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We still have our growth plans in place,

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so we've got harder things to overcome than Brexit.

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John Finch owns six convenience stores

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which also sell food produced at his factory.

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We would see ourselves in the front line.

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We get a lot of white van drivers, so if things are not working well,

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you see them regressing and the lunchbox coming back out again

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and whenever they are,

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they're in and they're happy enough to spend money,

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buy coffee and fast food.

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What about prices on the shelves here in your shop?

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Are they going up?

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Not at the minute.

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We haven't increased prices at all, and we have no requirement,

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it's not as if we're suffering any increase in price.

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That just hasn't happened. To date, anyway.

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The day after we filmed, the Office For National Statistics

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published its sale figures for July,

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which indicated shoppers were undeterred by Brexit.

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It's Angela McGowan's job to keep a close eye

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on how Northern Ireland's economy performs.

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Like most experts, she warned about the dangers of Brexit.

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She doesn't see any immediate hit for shoppers,

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but predicts inflation will rise.

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For example, if you're buying something in your supermarket now,

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the retail store probably bought that

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maybe two or three months ago.

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But as time goes on, they're going to notice when they import things

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that they're more expensive, because their pound is worth less.

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It's basic economics.

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So maybe people don't notice it in their basket of goods right now,

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but where people will have noticed it

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is if they took a foreign holiday this year.

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They notice that whenever they went on their holiday,

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everything was much more expensive.

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Your pound takes you less further abroad,

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so there will be an inflationary effect on those people already.

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Meanwhile, we have temporary jobs to fill at a Kilkeel fish factory,

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mostly staffed by foreign EU nationals.

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So, we're on the hunt for locals to see what they make of the work.

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We've no luck in Kilkeel, but after more than a month of searching,

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we finally find two candidates who are local,

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to Northern Ireland at least.

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It's just after 6.30 in the morning,

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and I'm waiting for our workers to show up.

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32-year-old Diarmuid, a video editor from Omagh,

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has been unemployed for 12 months.

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He arrives early.

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-You've been unemployed, working here and there.

-Yeah.

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Why are you doing this?

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It's given me an opportunity to do something a little bit different.

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It's kind of difficult to actually jump straight back into work

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whenever you've been away for a long time,

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and whenever you have an option to go and do something a bit different,

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it gives you a new skill set, a new perspective.

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-Now, it's two days.

-Mm-hm.

-Are you going to hack it?

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Oh, yeah! Well, I'm pretty sure.

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Like, I mean, I don't mind it, so we'll see how it goes.

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Our second candidate is late.

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It's after seven, and the shift's begun.

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RINGING TONE

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'I'm ten seconds away. You'll see me here in two seconds.'

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Good stuff, Roy. You're on speakerphone. It's Jim here.

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-Look forward to seeing you very shortly.

-'Good man, Jim.'

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Cheers, then.

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Well, that's Roy. He's on his way.

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'20-year-old law student Roy, from Larne,

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'has ambitions to be a comedian.

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'Though arriving late is no joke for time-pressured employers.'

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We'll have to get you moving here, cos it's seven o'clock.

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-Let's get to work.

-OK.

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All of my dad's side of the family

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have worked with fish for as long as I can remember.

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They were out in the boats.

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I'm not going to be out in the boats.

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I'm going to be doing the next best thing.

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On a stationary boat, maybe! Just to see if I can hack it.

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-I want to see if I can do it, and I think I can.

-Just one thing.

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It's after seven o'clock. You were due to start at seven.

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These sort of places, they don't appreciate people being late.

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You know what else they say. Touts out.

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Induction begins in the boardroom...

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Everything is alive, so if you're handling

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at the back door, at intake, just be very careful,

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because you can get a wee nip.

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..before the necessary work clothes are donned.

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-We shall return to check on Roy and Diarmuid shortly.

-Looking good.

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We've learned that prices on the high street haven't gone up.

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Meanwhile, for tourists coming here, they've gone down.

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Thanks to the fall in the pound, hoteliers in Northern Ireland

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are reporting their best summer in many years.

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The fact that, obviously, Northern Ireland, part of the UK.

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The currency in sterling, we've seen a devaluation in that currency.

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Is that driving any more of those tourists across the border?

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Yes, and early indications are quite strong.

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I think we can see it, you know, day by day in Belfast and around

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already in the car registrations on the roads.

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The majority of tourists arrive here from the Republic,

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so the Brexit benefit depends on the border remaining fluid.

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So, could Brexit mean boom time for tourism in Northern Ireland?

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If we don't see any hardening of the borders, yes, indeed,

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there could be an upside to Brexit for tourism.

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Leave voter Richard Irwin says Brexit has been good

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for his mattress cover and window blind business.

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And that could be good news for us all.

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Richard Irwin believes his sales are a good indicator

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of the likelihood of recession.

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He says people put off buying items like mattresses

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if they fear losing their jobs, but his sales are good.

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Typically, home furnishings will be one of the first sectors to suffer

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if there's a recession coming,

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because people will have to tighten their belts

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and they'll start with things that they can put off.

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So they're not going to put off their weekly grocery shop

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or filling their car,

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but if they have to put off buying a new set of curtains or a new bed,

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that's the first thing they'll do if there's uncertainty.

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And as things stand, we're seeing a little bit of that,

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but not a major dip.

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So, overall...

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What your order book is telling you

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is that the economy's ticking along well?

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Yeah, we're up year on year.

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Richard Irwin isn't the only one reporting good economic news.

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Just a couple of days after this interview,

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official figures confirmed

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that unemployment continued to fall in July.

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Once the UK leaves the EU...

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Farmers were given definite promises by the Leave campaign

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that their EU subsidies would be matched if we left Europe.

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And in August, the Chancellor announced

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that multibillion pound promise would be kept.

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What we're doing today is giving certainty about funding commitments.

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At least until 2020.

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During the referendum, some politicians, like Ian Paisley,

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even promised farmers would get bigger subsidies outside the EU.

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'You'll get more if you're a farmer if you're out of the EU

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'than you're currently getting in the EU.'

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Are you still as confident now

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that farmers will get more money post-Brexit than they did before?

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Well, I'm confident for a number of reasons.

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I've already met with the new English agricultural minister.

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First of all, the money is already there.

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And, secondly, there will be additional money.

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Last year,

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for some of those guys, their average income was 11,000,

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so it's not easy out there.

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Ulster Farmers Union president Barclay Bell

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is relieved his members' subsidies will continue for now,

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but has other, bigger, worries.

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EU membership protects farmers here

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by placing big charges, tariffs, on imports of food from outside the EU.

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Brexit could end that protection,

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and that would spell disaster for local farmers.

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Certainly if the tariffs disappeared,

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that is a risk that we could disappear

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with the threat of international imports.

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Farmers don't know what the new government policy will be.

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There's even a new department to deal with,

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called the Department for Exiting the EU.

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We have had some discussions

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with the Department for Exiting the EU.

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Certainly I think they are looking for ideas.

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They're wanting us to come up with ideas probably late September...

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They're wanting you to come up with the ideas?

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-They're wanting us to help with ideas.

-Where are their ideas?

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This is what you have to question,

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you know, just where their ideas are.

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That is a bit alarming, that people who were so keen to leave

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actually haven't got a blueprint there.

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The Minister for Exiting the EU, David Davis,

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was at Stormont at the beginning of September.

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There was no sign of a Brexit blueprint,

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but there was instead a tough pledge on immigration.

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We have to, as a result of the biggest mandate

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in United Kingdom political history,

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we have to take control of our borders,

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we have to be able to control

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the number of people coming into the United Kingdom.

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But this new UK policy

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could be just the thing that Northern Ireland least needs.

0:28:470:28:51

We have such a small population.

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Nowhere more than Northern Ireland

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needs to have access to an international labour market,

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and I think it would really damage our future economic growth

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if we don't really get this nailed on the head properly

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in terms of the negotiations.

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Back at the fish factory, staffed mostly by foreign EU nationals,

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our two locals are getting down to work.

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Will they keep up with their EU co-workers?

0:29:140:29:17

What do they expect of the next two days?

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I'm hoping for a few surprises. I don't really know what to expect.

0:29:190:29:22

I'm just going to take it all as it comes and hopefully enjoy it.

0:29:220:29:25

Are you willing to do a bit more backbreaking work

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over the next day or so?

0:29:270:29:29

Give me a job and I'll happily put myself to it.

0:29:290:29:31

Although if I injure myself...

0:29:310:29:32

That'll be an issue for the business to deal with, but not me.

0:29:320:29:36

Boss Andrew Rooney, son of John, whom we met at the oyster farm,

0:29:360:29:40

may need to rely more in the future on locals like Diarmuid and Roy.

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But they're in short supply,

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and he says Brexit is already causing recruitment problems.

0:29:460:29:50

It's even hard now to get staff.

0:29:500:29:55

-Even now?

-Even now it's hard to get staff.

0:29:550:29:57

-What, just since the vote?

-Yeah.

-Why's that?

0:29:570:30:00

If we look at advertising for foreign workers,

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the key issue would be a fear factor.

0:30:050:30:08

They don't know what's going to happen, so if they...

0:30:080:30:11

sort of pack up everything there and come here,

0:30:110:30:14

what's going to happen here?

0:30:140:30:16

So it's actually left it very difficult now.

0:30:160:30:18

So, are you telling me you find it difficult to hire locally

0:30:180:30:21

and find it difficult to hire abroad at the moment?

0:30:210:30:23

-Yeah.

-Here and now?

-Here and now.

0:30:230:30:25

Diarmuid spends his first morning sorting prawns.

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He's finding it a bit of a struggle.

0:30:290:30:31

So, you can go quicker, and you can use your two hands as well.

0:30:310:30:36

It's just the fact there isn't that much space.

0:30:360:30:38

So, you get quick with your eyes and then quick with your hands.

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Meanwhile, Roy is breezing through his work vacuum packing crab.

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Run your hand over it so the seal comes down on it, it sucks it.

0:30:480:30:53

-What about that one?

-That one's perfect. Yeah.

0:30:530:30:56

Diarmuid voted to remain in the referendum.

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He's unemployed

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and has come off Jobseeker's Allowance to take this work.

0:31:000:31:04

Employers will need many more locals like Diarmuid to do the same

0:31:040:31:09

if Brexit halts the flow of EU workers.

0:31:090:31:12

But Diarmuid doesn't believe his lack of work

0:31:120:31:14

has anything to do with migrant workers.

0:31:140:31:16

If I've not qualified for a job

0:31:160:31:17

or I don't have the experience for the job,

0:31:170:31:19

that makes sense when somebody else gets it over the top of me.

0:31:190:31:22

Roy voted to leave,

0:31:230:31:25

but he doesn't think that means sending migrants away.

0:31:250:31:28

-I actually voted out.

-Why?

-One of the very few people my age to do so.

0:31:290:31:33

Pretty much the ludicrous legislation,

0:31:330:31:36

the lack of autonomy,

0:31:360:31:38

and the quite frank undemocratic bureaucracy

0:31:380:31:41

that goes on in Brussels.

0:31:410:31:43

Was immigration an issue for you in this vote?

0:31:440:31:46

To be quite frank, not really.

0:31:460:31:48

I think whenever there's people coming here to work,

0:31:480:31:50

I think that's superb.

0:31:500:31:51

I think there's people come over from all parts of Europe to work,

0:31:510:31:54

I think that's absolutely fantastic.

0:31:540:31:57

Whether we need heavier vetting of people coming through,

0:31:570:32:00

like the likes of Australia and America do, possibly.

0:32:000:32:04

Just four days after this filming,

0:32:050:32:07

the Prime Minister rolled out an Australian points system.

0:32:070:32:11

The fate of EU workers, though, remains unclear.

0:32:110:32:14

One big fear associated with Brexit has been the loss of EU funding.

0:32:160:32:21

The government has given some guarantees,

0:32:210:32:24

but in Northern Ireland, that may not go far enough.

0:32:240:32:27

According to Stormont's finance minister,

0:32:270:32:29

we could still be short many millions.

0:32:290:32:33

My concern is that there's a question mark

0:32:330:32:35

over half of the £500 million

0:32:350:32:37

which we are due to get from Europe.

0:32:370:32:39

It will be a real body blow to the economy,

0:32:390:32:42

and that's why I've made it my number one priority

0:32:420:32:45

to fight for this 500 million

0:32:450:32:47

and make sure we don't lose one single cent or one single penny.

0:32:470:32:51

And that EU money turns up in surprising places.

0:32:520:32:56

Like this Republican ex-prisoners group

0:33:020:33:04

which relies on EU funding.

0:33:040:33:06

This Museum of Orange Heritage

0:33:100:33:13

was built with millions in EU funding.

0:33:130:33:15

And public transport has benefited, too.

0:33:190:33:21

Like it or loathe it, the extension at the Waterfront

0:33:290:33:31

is the centrepiece of a new strategy

0:33:310:33:33

to bring big international conferences

0:33:330:33:35

and their high-spending delegates to the town.

0:33:350:33:37

Europe picked up half the tab.

0:33:370:33:39

£13.4 million.

0:33:410:33:43

The regeneration of this city began with the river.

0:33:490:33:53

Do you remember what it was like before any of this was built?

0:33:530:33:55

Cheers, Simon.

0:33:550:33:57

The Lagan wasn't the most pleasant of rivers, especially at low tide,

0:34:020:34:06

when the exposed mudbanks gave off their particular aroma.

0:34:060:34:09

So they built this, the Lagan Weir.

0:34:210:34:24

It keeps the level up and the smell down.

0:34:240:34:27

And the EU money helped it happen.

0:34:270:34:29

Titanic Belfast is a symbol of our tourism revival.

0:34:330:34:37

The EU has delivered millions for local tourism

0:34:370:34:40

to spend on marketing and big events.

0:34:400:34:43

And next door is home to Game Of Thrones,

0:34:430:34:46

the biggest TV series in the world, here at Titanic Studios.

0:34:460:34:50

And once again, EU funding plays its part

0:34:500:34:53

by channelling millions into the industry body

0:34:530:34:55

Northern Ireland Screen.

0:34:550:34:57

Many argue that it was not EU money that funded these projects,

0:34:580:35:03

but instead our own money recycled back to us.

0:35:030:35:06

People miss the point. They call it EU money.

0:35:070:35:09

It is UK money

0:35:090:35:12

that we end up having to spend the way Europe tells us.

0:35:120:35:15

You know what leaving will allow us to do with that money?

0:35:150:35:18

It will allow the Northern Ireland Assembly

0:35:180:35:20

to assume greater powers and greater responsibilities

0:35:200:35:23

on how allocations to Northern Ireland are actually spent.

0:35:230:35:25

But there's a problem, and it has nothing to do with funding,

0:35:290:35:32

which suggests we could be sailing into choppy waters.

0:35:320:35:35

Many TV and film projects are made here

0:35:370:35:40

because it means they're made in the EU

0:35:400:35:42

and therefore benefit from EU quotas,

0:35:420:35:45

which ensure the majority of content on TV in Europe is made in Europe.

0:35:450:35:50

A UK out of Europe may not qualify.

0:35:500:35:53

That's bad news for local productions

0:35:530:35:55

like children's hit Lily's Driftwood Bay.

0:35:550:35:58

Somebody stop this thing!

0:35:590:36:01

-Use the anchor, Bull.

-Oh!

0:36:010:36:04

Losing those widely hated EU regulations could have a downside.

0:36:050:36:09

I'm meeting Professor Richard Kennedy.

0:36:120:36:14

He's an oncologist at the Cancer Centre in Belfast

0:36:140:36:17

and leading cancer researcher at Queen's University.

0:36:170:36:20

Thanks to people like him and their work,

0:36:200:36:23

Belfast is now globally respected as a centre for cancer research.

0:36:230:36:27

He fears that is now under threat.

0:36:270:36:30

Northern Ireland's had a leadership role

0:36:310:36:33

in a number of programmes, including clinical trials,

0:36:330:36:35

and also research consortiums throughout Europe.

0:36:350:36:38

I think after Brexit,

0:36:380:36:39

there's a danger that we become disengaged from those groups,

0:36:390:36:42

we become insular, inward-looking in our research.

0:36:420:36:44

In Northern Ireland, I think we're particularly vulnerable

0:36:440:36:47

because we're a small area and we benefit very much

0:36:470:36:49

from collaboration elsewhere within Europe.

0:36:490:36:51

And if we weren't part of that after Brexit,

0:36:510:36:56

what would it mean for clinical trials here in Northern Ireland?

0:36:560:36:59

There's a danger that the kind of research

0:36:590:37:01

or the data we generate in our studies

0:37:010:37:03

may not be recognised by the other states within the EU.

0:37:030:37:05

So if I was a drugs company where would I do my clinical trials?

0:37:050:37:08

I can see how, potentially, we could create disincentives

0:37:080:37:11

to do studies within the UK.

0:37:110:37:12

In other words, they'd just do them somewhere else...

0:37:120:37:14

Because it's easier, yeah.

0:37:140:37:16

Wrightbus was, for many,

0:37:180:37:20

the corporate face of Brexit in Northern Ireland.

0:37:200:37:23

It builds London buses,

0:37:230:37:25

and company founder William Wright was also a vocal Leave supporter.

0:37:250:37:29

However, even the "Boris Bus"

0:37:310:37:33

must still be built to European regulations.

0:37:330:37:36

So you either build a bus

0:37:360:37:38

to a European standard or you build it to an American standard,

0:37:380:37:42

and we obviously, in the future, have to be able to do both.

0:37:420:37:45

So from that point of view,

0:37:450:37:46

we're still bound by EU regulations, in or out.

0:37:460:37:49

Even at Wrightbus, scratch the surface

0:37:510:37:54

and the complexities of Brexit are revealed.

0:37:540:37:57

The company builds buses for Dublin as well as London.

0:37:570:38:00

It has received millions in European funding,

0:38:000:38:03

and its chief executive, unlike its founder,

0:38:030:38:06

wanted to stay in the EU.

0:38:060:38:09

I was in favour of remaining,

0:38:090:38:11

but I wasn't 100% in favour of remaining.

0:38:110:38:13

-William Wright is a big personality.

-He is.

0:38:140:38:17

So how did the two of you handle this dispute

0:38:170:38:19

over your Remain and he was Leave?

0:38:190:38:22

We were never in dispute. It was all very jovial, and it still is.

0:38:220:38:27

But with key customers in Europe,

0:38:270:38:29

could the Brexit vote damage Wrightbus?

0:38:290:38:32

Is it going to change things for some of your customers?

0:38:320:38:35

I mean, we're walking past a Dublin bus here.

0:38:350:38:37

Is there a sense of hurt?

0:38:370:38:38

There's been some raised eyebrows. There was a curiosity.

0:38:380:38:42

Just that kind of academic interest, really.

0:38:420:38:44

Day two at the fish factory for our local volunteers.

0:38:470:38:51

Are they the kind of workers that businesses could rely on

0:38:510:38:54

if Brexit makes it difficult to hire from the EU?

0:38:540:38:57

Diarmuid is hard at it.

0:38:590:39:00

But there's no sign of Roy.

0:39:000:39:02

He arrives late.

0:39:040:39:05

Off-camera, the boss asks him to leave.

0:39:050:39:08

Roy's not pleased, as his working day stops before it begins.

0:39:080:39:12

I catch up with him that lunchtime at a nearby hotel.

0:39:140:39:17

I could have been down there for any time.

0:39:210:39:23

I was ready to rock at any time. They said, "Be here at eight."

0:39:230:39:26

I thought, "I'll get there as close to eight as possible,"

0:39:260:39:28

and I was, again, to be precise, two minutes late.

0:39:280:39:31

Do you get what it's like for employers such as Rooney Fish...?

0:39:320:39:36

They obviously expect, you know, things to run exactly as they plan.

0:39:360:39:39

I can understand that, yes,

0:39:390:39:41

but with regards to the two minutes that I missed this morning,

0:39:410:39:44

I would have been more than happy to make that up.

0:39:440:39:47

He said it was two minutes, but that was two minutes at the gate.

0:39:470:39:50

Then he had to go inside, he had to get changed,

0:39:500:39:53

he had to leave his lunch in the canteen

0:39:530:39:56

and he had to go downstairs, had to clock in,

0:39:560:39:59

which would have been ten minutes late.

0:39:590:40:01

And the machine was stopped in the meantime, waiting on him to come.

0:40:010:40:05

It costs money for a whole factory then to do that.

0:40:050:40:08

Meanwhile, Diarmuid,

0:40:100:40:12

who got told off on his first day for being too slow,

0:40:120:40:14

has picked up the pace.

0:40:140:40:16

I've been enjoying it.

0:40:200:40:21

I've got properly into the swing of doing the job.

0:40:210:40:24

I've been doing a decent enough day.

0:40:240:40:25

Somebody said to me to slow down at one point.

0:40:250:40:27

I've been enjoying it, I've been working hard.

0:40:270:40:29

-I saw a bit of sweat there.

-That's real working labour.

0:40:290:40:32

That's actually the reason why I'm sweating.

0:40:320:40:34

It had to come from lifting and laying and doing proper work.

0:40:340:40:37

Of course, we don't yet know what Brexit really means.

0:40:410:40:45

But if it does mean tighter controls on migrants,

0:40:450:40:48

as the government now says,

0:40:480:40:50

does that mean more jobs for locals like Diarmuid

0:40:500:40:52

and a Brexit boost for the economy?

0:40:520:40:55

Or if a shortage of workers forces companies to move, or close,

0:40:550:41:01

does Brexit actually mean fewer jobs and less money for us all?

0:41:010:41:06

We have to keep our factory going,

0:41:090:41:12

and it just happened to be to keep the factory going,

0:41:120:41:15

it was foreign nationals that were employed.

0:41:150:41:20

If that stopped in the morning,

0:41:200:41:22

I don't know where I'm going to replace 60 people.

0:41:220:41:25

Brexit raises a lot of complex issues for Northern Ireland

0:41:270:41:31

in particular.

0:41:310:41:32

But, surprisingly, the one common thread of concern I've discovered,

0:41:320:41:38

among the people I've met, even those who voted Leave,

0:41:380:41:40

is the potential impact on foreign workers and the local economy.

0:41:400:41:44

The freedom of movement of people has been one of the better things

0:41:460:41:49

that's come out of the project of the EU.

0:41:490:41:52

We do depend on the migrant people, you know.

0:41:520:41:55

They are terrific workers.

0:41:550:41:56

They are a fantastic part of our workforce.

0:41:560:41:59

They are contributing to society as much as you and I are.

0:41:590:42:03

So what does Rooney Fish do

0:42:030:42:05

if the shutters are pulled down on recruitment in Europe?

0:42:050:42:08

Truthfully, standing here now, I don't know.

0:42:080:42:10

I don't know.

0:42:120:42:13

And that is the only answer, like, you know.

0:42:130:42:17

I don't know.

0:42:170:42:19

Jim Fitzpatrick dives into the Brexit aftermath, exploring how immigration curbs could affect the NI economy and finding out if two local volunteers will be up to the job in a fish factory that relies on foreign workers.


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