Confusion still reigns as Brexit referendum nears

Shane Wilson, President of Lisnaskea Chamber of Commerce    RMG57

Shane Wilson, President of Lisnaskea Chamber of Commerce RMG57


BUSINESSES in Fermanagh are mostly in support of the UK remaining in the EU, but the general public are confused by the issue. 
That’s the message from some of the county’s business leaders, who were speaking to the Herald ahead the June 23 referendum. 
Shane Wilson, president of the Lisnaskea Chamber of Commerce, said most businesses in the town did a lot of trade with the South, and were therefore in favour of remaining within the union. 
“With regard to our members, a lot of those in the farming community are very uncertain about it,” said Mr Wilson, who added that, as a businessman, he was in favour of remaining. “With the businesses, especially where people trade with the South, there is still uncertainty but a lot of people are of the view that they’d like to remain. 
“A lot of people are still undecided, though. It’s one of those things, you get a lot of mixed reactions to. Generally, businesses in Lisnaskea who rely on trade south of the border are in favour or remain. 
“If you look at Northern Ireland as a whole, it’s mostly made up of small and medium enterprises (SME), and any impact to the economy is a concern for SMEs. Businesses don’t like uncertainty. We’ve had a lot of challenges in recent times, such as the strong Euro, and now we have the uncertainty over the vote.” 
Chairman of the Enniskillen Business Partnership, Simon Kennedy, said while as a group they had not met to discuss the issue, his reading of the situation from speaking with customers and members of the public was that people were confused by both sides. 
“I would say people don’t have a clue,” said Mr Kennedy. “Certainly, from speaking with people, I’d say about 90 per-cent don’t know what they’re voting.”
Mr Kennedy said, despite the information leaflet that had been sent to each household, people were still confused on the issues as both the ‘Remain’ and ‘Leave’ sides of the campaign had been unclear in the message to the public. 
It’s not just business owners who are worried about a Brexit, workers who commute across the border each day are also fearful of the implications of the UK possibly leaving the EU. 
Dymphna Stewart, who lives in Fermanagh and works in Cavan, agreed that both sides of the campaign had been obscuring the issues, but said she was firmly in the Remain camp. 
“I personally would like to stay within the EU,” said Dymphna, who works at Blacklion Post Office. “The thought of going back to check points and customs stop for the sake for what is really a few yards is a nightmare. For me, living in the North and working in the South, being stopped several times a day while driving over the border would drive me mad. There are many people out there who live on one side and work on the other. 
“I can understand why it’s totally confusing for people, though. Neither side is really telling the truth.” 



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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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