Government Advances No Deal Brexit Contingency Planning and Preparations
The Government today received a further update on whole-of-Government contingency preparations for a no deal Brexit scenario. The Tánaiste briefed on intensive work that has taken place across Departments and Agencies to take further steps to implement the Contingency Action Plan published in December.
While ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement remains the Government's preferred outcome, the Government is continuing to prepare for a no deal scenario. It will be impossible to fully mitigate for a no deal Brexit scenario; our preparation work is an exercise in damage limitation. A no deal Brexit would have profound impacts for Ireland.
As part of a detailed discussion, some key areas were underlined:
- Omnibus Brexit Bill – this week in the Dáil, 9 Ministers will debate every element of the Bill, line-by-line. The Bill, and the list of 21 pieces of secondary legislation also published today, is designed to support and assist Irish citizens and business to mitigate the worst effects of a no deal Brexit. Proposed secondary legislation ranges across issues and sectors from health and social protection to VAT and making provision for EU contingency regulations.
- The Government is committed to maintaining the Common Travel Area, and to providing for all legislative measures necessary to do so, in all circumstances. The provisions of the Omnibus Bill, across a number of areas ensure that these legislative measures will be implemented in Ireland in a no deal scenario. Today the Government also finalised the remaining domestic decisions necessary to conclude the Common Travel Area arrangements. This paves the way to make arrangements with the UK for final agreement between the Irish and British Governments on this priority issue.
- The Minister for Finance gave the Cabinet an initial update on a further assessment of the economic impact of Brexit completed by the Department of Finance with the ESRI. The full detail of this assessment will be published jointly with the ESRI next week.
- The Government was also updated on key work that has been advanced to prepare our ports and airports including:
- Work on temporary infrastructure at Dublin and Rosslare ports is well underway;
- By the end of March, Revenue will have over 400 additional staff trained and in place, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine will have over 200 additional staff trained and in place, and the Department of Health will have at least 59 additional staff trained and in place;
- Enhanced IT systems will be in place to handle increased transaction levels (customs declarations are expected to increase from 1.7m annually to around 20m);
- Revenue has undertaken an extensive trader outreach programme, reaching over 80,000 businesses since December.
The Government also was updated on the ongoing communications work to inform citizens and businesses on how to prepare for a no deal Brexit. Ministers updated cabinet on their recent stakeholder engagement including last week’s meetings with opposition leaders, business, agriculture and food, and regulatory bodies.
Last week gov.ie/Brexit went live which includes a range of practical step-by step advice on how businesses and citizens can continue to prepare for Brexit.
Read the full press release here.