The Tánaiste and a number Government Ministers unveiled a package of Brexit Readiness measures from Budget 2019. These measures will protect Ireland from the negative economic impact of Brexit and are on top of the hundreds of millions of euro made available in Budget 2017 & 2018.
The central government measures to insulate Ireland from Brexit include:
- The funding of a €2bn Rainy Day Fund with €1.5bn from ISIF and €500m in 2019 capital funding.
- Increased staffing across state agencies and key Irish embassies.
- Delivering the first balanced budget in a decade.
- Increased capital expenditure through Project Ireland 2040.
Among the new departmental measures in Budget 2019 are:
- A new €300m long-term Future Growth Loan Scheme partnership to provide 8-10 year loans between the Departments of Business, Enterprise and Innovation & Agriculture, Food and the Marine. (This is in addition to Budget 2018’s €300m short-term SME loan scheme)
- Educational spending of €300m announced by Minister Bruton in a Human Capital Fund for training and reskilling of sectors/regions vulnerable to Brexit.
- An overall Agricultural package of an additional €80m in funding including farm sector supports.
- €8m in business funding for Brexit staffing & supports across IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and regulatory agencies to target new markets.
- An extra €5m for the Local Enterprise Offices, up 22%, to support small businesses including through a new Customs Training Programme.
- €10m in additional funding for the IDA’s Regional Property Programme to include advanced facilities in the Border and Midlands regions.
- An additional €1m for InterTrade Ireland to support businesses, mostly in the border region.
- An additional €18m in funding for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to bolster public awareness and our diplomatic work on Brexit.
- €10m for customs staff for the Revenue Commissioners on an East/West basis.
- €3.5m for ICT supports for the Revenue Commissioners.
- €4m for Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) inspectors.
- €3m for ICT support for agricultural and SPS inspectors.
- €2.5m for HSE staffing for food safety inspectors.
- Over €7m from the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport for current tourism funding to offset Brexit.
- Over €19m of addition capital spending for tourism investments.
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney has welcomed Budget 2019’s focus on ensuring Ireland is Brexit ready. The Tánaiste said:
We are at a critical juncture in the Brexit process, with EU and UK negotiators negotiating intensively with the aim of achieving verifiable progress before the October European Council. I remain confident that a full Withdrawal Agreement can be agreed, including a backstop to guarantee no return of any hard border on this island.
The decisions announced by Minister Donohoe today to balance the country’s books, to establish our Rainy Day Fund, and to invest in key domestic infrastructure, including our ports and airports, will help ensure Ireland is ready for whatever change Brexit brings.
The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, said:
Given my Ministerial remit for the business and enterprise sector, my Department and its agencies have, and continue to be, centrally involved in supporting businesses through these challenging times. With less than six months to go, I was determined to deliver a budget with Brexit at its core.
While the entirety of my Department’s budget for 2019 is Brexit-focused, I have also introduced a number of bespoke measures, including the new longer-term loan scheme with Ministers Creed and Donohoe and additional funding for the Local Enterprise Offices, Enterprise Ireland IDA Ireland and InterTrade Ireland. My Department is currently developing a new cross-Government strategy for the next phase of Ireland’s economic development, the Future Jobs Initiative, together with the Department of the Taoiseach.
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, said:
For the Agri-food and seafood sectors, Budget 2019 is about building Brexit resilience and protecting incomes through increased investment and taxation measures. Our industry is the most exposed to the consequences of Brexit; from farmers, to fishermen, to SMEs, to large food businesses. My priority has been to put in place schemes and supports to make sure we are doing all that we can to be Brexit ready. That is why I have announced a Brexit response package of almost €80m.
Speaking on the Government’s focus on Brexit in Budget 2019, the Minister of State for European Affairs, Helen McEntee, said:
Budget 2019 is an important step in getting Ireland Brexit Ready. Brexit is one of the major challenges facing Ireland and we must do everything to minimise against the potential impacts while at the same time reinforcing the importance of our EU membership.
This year I led a national citizens’ dialogue on the Future of Europe, engaging with people on the benefits but also the challenges we face as EU members. I am pleased that this Budget will allow for the next stages of the Government’s future of Europe strategy to continue, working with organizations like EMI and the IIEA. Now more than ever it is important to reinforce our place at the heart of Europe. Budget 2019 will ensure we do that.