Derry picture framer Paul McGilloway says small businesses are worried about Brexit

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Well-known local picture framer, Paul McGilloway, has said local businesses are being squeezed enough by tight profit margins without having to worry about Brexit.

Mr. McGilloway, who trades as ‘Framed to Perfection’ from his Westend Terrace store, said small businesses in Derry and Donegal were seriously worried about the potential impact of Brexit on their livelihoods.

He said: “Many of the small businesses I would be in daily contact with and who are working on very tight margins are worried about the implications it will have here in the North West.”

The local entrepreneur said any impediment to the free movement of Derry and Donegal customer bases across the border would be damaging for trade.

“Especially around the free flow of trade between Derry and Donegal,” he said.

“And the easy access of customers going between the likes of Derry, Buncrana and Letterkenny which we all rely on,” he added.

While potential checks and delays on the border would be cleary disastrous, Mr. McGilloway said, the continuing uncertainty around the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union was making it difficult for local businesses generally.

“As a business it’s very hard to plan ahead as the situation is not only changing on a daily basis but nearly on an hourly basis,” he said.

Local Sinn Féin Councillor Sharon Duddy has said the Irish government and the European Union both need to stand firm to protect small businesses in the North from Brexit.

She said: “There is no such thing as a good Brexit for businesses in the North, whether it comes with a deal or not.

“The uncertainty created by Brexit has caused concern right across the business sector in the north.

“Small businesses here depend on all-Ireland trade and the possibility of the imposition of a Brexit border could have a devastating impact on the sector.

“We now need to see the Irish government and the EU 27 standing firm to protect the interests of the business community in the north from the reckless and delusional Brexit agenda of the British Tories.”

The uncertainty over Brexit continues this week with the European Council due to decide tomorrow whether the UK should be granted a further extension to its Brexit deadline, which transpires on Friday.

The UK was supposed to leave the European Union on March 29 under Article 50(3) of the Treaties of the European Union two years after notifying the Council of its intention of leaving.