The head of the Confederation of British Industry has said that businesses want a negotiated Brexit settlement and to move into a transition period of stability.

Dame Carolyn Fairbairn said companies want Brexit to become boring and to become about working groups and trade papers, not about headlines.

Speaking to the British-Irish Chamber of Commerce dinner in Dublin, she said that over the last couple of weeks she has spoken to hundreds of business leaders across the UK and their clear message was that leaving the UK without a deal would cause great harm to their businesses.

Dame Fairbairn said many UK businesses are once again rebuilding their stocks in preparation for a no-deal.

But she added that preparation is not the same thing as protection because in a no-deal scenario costs, tariffs and a loss of talent would be unavoidable for businesses.

Those businesses are asking politicians to keep talking and to reach for common ground, she said, as the biggest risk of all now is the risk of no communication at all, folded arms and a stand-off.

For all the sound and fury of the last few days, she said, for business nothing much has changed.

She also referred to the political situation in the north, saying the economy there is already being held back by a lack of a functioning executive.

Earlier, the President of the British-Irish Chamber of Commerce, John Cronin, told attendees that it is very sad and difficult to think that in 56 days time the UK may not be a member of the EU.

He said members of the chamber are concerned that a no-deal Brexit would damage and imperil existing trade between Ireland the UK, in some cases quite significantly, and would limit future business opportunities.

In the chamber's view, he said, the political and business relationship enjoyed by the two countries must be supported.

The mutual interdependence of the two countries cannot be overstated, he said.

He added that almost all forecasters agree a no-deal will damage both economies.

The cost of borrowing for the country could go up and thousands of jobs could be lost, he claimed, while trade barriers would be introduced where there were none.

Businesses in Ireland and the UK are entering uncharted waters, he added, and the persistence of uncertainty around the terms of which businesses on both sides of the Irish Sea will trade with each other is disruptive, costly and harmful to relationships.

He added that some businesses would likely fail.

The chamber is advocating for an orderly withdrawal with a sensible transition period and with legal coherence, he stated.

Avoiding a no-deal must become the number one priority for all and no amount of planning can offset the damage of the UK crashing out of the EU, he said.

Our future prosperity depends on finding another way forward, he said.