Brexit continues to cast a cloud over political, economic and social developments in Great Britain, Ireland and throughout the entire European Union. Tonight's vote in Westminster is the latest instalment in a lengthening saga in which no coherent, concrete view on Brexit commanding a majority of British parliamentarians is emerging. The withdrawal treaty looks set to be defeated - although we do not know that for certain - plunging all of us into greater uncertainty and speculation in the days ahead. We cannot influence tonight's vote, if we are honest, but we can influence how prepared we are for any eventuality that may emerge, including, of course, a no-deal Brexit, by the end of March. It is my view that the Government has treated the Dáil and the public shabbily and badly when it has come to sharing its plans in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The Government should treat the Oireachtas and the public with greater respect in this regard.
Under pressure, the Government published a contingency plan on 19 December, the day on which the Dáil went into recess prior to Christmas. The document itself is light, lacking in detail and needs considerable fleshing out. It outlines up to 22 elements of primary legislation and more than 20 areas of secondary legislation that may be required. I hardly need to point out that there are only 25 sitting days in this House between now and 29 March, when all this legislation, in addition to other legislation, will be required to be passed if we end up with a no-deal Brexit scenario. We do not know much because the heads or outlines of the legislation have not even been published or circulated to Members of the Oireachtas. The contingency plan published in late December deals rather sketchily with a number of important areas such as medicine supplies, aviation, the land bridge, ports and airports, staffing, Revenue and agriculture. I have some specific questions for the Taoiseach on these areas. Do any of the changes required at our ports and airports as a consequence of Brexit require planning permission or legislative changes? If so, has planning permission, where necessary, been sought?
Is all relevant ICT infrastructure in place at our ports and airports, or will it be in place by 29 March in the event of a no-deal Brexit?
Approximately 240 medicines are listed as being in short supply, which is more than normal. Deputy Brassil has been diligent in bringing this information to me. Anecdotally, we have heard of the difficulty that all pharmacists are having with such a short supply of drugs. Will the Taoiseach indicate whether the Government is stockpiling key medicines, particularly those with a narrow therapeutic index which are not interchangeable in the event of a no-deal Brexit? Will he outline the medicine supply situation and how the Government intends to deal with the legislation that would be required in the event of a no-deal Brexit?