Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Questions (194)

Tony McLoughlin


194. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her plans to support calls for measures for local business in the Border counties in the event of a hard border after Brexit and-or an unfavourable trade agreement with a post-Brexit Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom. [4742/18]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

My Department and its enterprise agencies are focused on assisting companies to prepare for the UK's withdrawal from the EU. This includes initiatives to build awareness of particular and sector-specific challenges that Brexit is likely to pose and helping firms put in place plans to deal with them.  

Much of the broader work undertaken so far to help mitigate the impact of Brexit on Irish firms is set out in a report prepared by my Department entitled "Building Stronger Business - Responding to Brexit by Competing, Innovating and Trading". This describes measures already taken and outlines future initiatives that will help ensure that Irish businesses are as prepared as possible for the UK's withdrawal from the European Union.

Our State Agencies have been particularly active in helping firms here prepare for the post-Brexit commercial environment. InterTrade Ireland - aided by additional funding that has been provided by my Department - has initiated an awareness raising campaign and launched services to assist companies to plan for Brexit. This includes the provision of "Start to Plan" vouchers, which helps companies get access to the specialist advice they need.  

Enterprise Ireland, meanwhile, launched a "Brexit SME Scorecard" - effectively a new interactive platform which can be used by Irish companies to self-assess their exposure to Brexit. The Agency has also introduced a "Be Prepared Grant" that helps SME clients meet the costs of implementing a plan to mitigate risks arising from Brexit. Furthermore, the Local Enterprise Office Network are hosting information events around the country about Brexit.

While progress has been made in helping many different businesses prepare, we know much more work remains to be done. That is why we will remain absolutely focused on our Brexit-related initiatives and will continue to explore new avenues and means of helping our companies plan for the future.