Britain’s departure from the EU at 11pm tonight has been met with gloom by business leaders.
John McGrane, director-general of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce, said: “It is with a heavy heart that we witness the end of the UK’s membership of the EU tonight.
“Joint membership of the EU has helped business, trade and cultural links prosper between these islands and we hope that tonight’s departure does not negatively impact these ties that bind us.
“While businesses will welcome the orderly withdrawal of the UK from the EU, they must not become complacent and think that Brexit is now done.
“This most difficult part of the process has yet to begin and could result in a permanent and significant change to how we do business and trade with each other.
“The coming negotiations are going to be tough, but the British Irish Chamber hopes that a more practical approach will emerge from both sides that will take account of legitimate business interests and concerns.
“In the meantime, businesses must continue to prepare to ensure they are able to continue to do business and trade in any scenario that might emerge over the coming eleven months,” he said.