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So where are we with the Pandemic and Brexit?

Where are we with the Covid-19 Pandemic and Brexit? Many could say that’s the $64 million question, but I reckon is a lot less complex and much clearer than even few weeks ago.

And sure, I’m known as an optimist, but one that that tries to deal with the facts as they exist, as opposed to just being hopeful. I simply believe that strategic thinking beats wishful thinking always. I also believe in being prepared for as best possible to take advantage of positive outcomes, while also having a plan B for the worst possible scenario. And of course, we still get stuff wrong, but overall it works very well.

Covid-19 and when will this Pandemic end for us?
Let’s look at the facts and plans as they are now. Just yesterday, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the Covid-19 vaccine, jointly developed by U.S. company Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, for emergency use. This follows the U.S., Britain and Canada.

This means that EU member nations will begin inoculations against Covid-19 before the end of this month (December). And other than some people being susceptible to allergic reactions, there is no negativity in relation to the Pfizer- BioNTech vaccine. EMA is also asking for more data on trials involving pregnant women. So all-told the first vaccine arrives in Ireland this week and nursing home residents and health professional dealing with Covid-19 patients will be inoculated fist.

With four to six more vaccines nearing approval, and the investment by the Irish government in pre-ordering more than enough for every citizen of this country (and similarly in the UK), we should see widespread delivery of vaccines to the general public by early summer. It will be free to everyone and everyone should protect themselves and others by being inoculated.

So that is very positive and it gives a good level of certainty.

Brexit and will there be a deal between the UK and the EU?
The very latest is as I write today, the UK government and the EU are in a stalemate on the fisheries issue. All other issue are more or less put to bed. Fisheries is now more about politics than the economics of an international trade deal. If politics was left aside, the deal would be done, because following the last increased offer by the EU on the issue, it is clear that it, combined with the essential tariff free access for British fishermen’s catches to the EU market is a good deal for them.

That’s why, when the politics and posturing is done, the trade deal will happen. The politics and semantics means that it will go to the very last minute before the ‘handshake’. Meanwhile the UK is being isolated from a travel perspective due to the new strain of Covid, and the miles and miles of trucks at the UK ferry ports, is just a small bad taste of what Brexit could lead to, if no deal is done.

So in a nutshell, I believe a deal will be done and that is very positive and it will give good level of certainty.

Have a great Christmas and I wish you a very prosperous and content 2021.

Padraic Deane,
Managing Editor.