I thank the Deputy for raising this question. I am advised by Revenue that its Brexit contingency plans are progressing well. Revenue's priority to date has been on upgrading relevant IT systems to have the most advanced systems possible to support and facilitate smooth and efficient trade flows. Performance testing is now well advanced and I am assured by Revenue that based on the work completed to date it is confident that the various IT systems will support the expected additional workload arising from Brexit, ensuring customs processes can continue to operate effectively and efficiently in a post-Brexit environment.
Allied to this upgrading of IT systems, I am advised by Revenue that it continues to bring to the attention of trade the range of authorisations and simplifications provided for within the Union customs code, UCC. These authorisations and simplifications facilitate legitimate trade to operate in the most efficient way possible. I am aware that Revenue is meeting with trade and business representative groups and attending industry seminars to discuss the supply chain challenges that can arise for business from Brexit and how the authorisations or simplifications available under the UCC could potentially contribute to meeting those challenges.
Revenue has determined that it will require an additional 600 staff as a result of Brexit. In line with the Government decision of September, Revenue has a comprehensive campaign in place to recruit these additional resources. Internal, interdepartmental and open recruitment campaigns are well under way. An open recruitment campaign undertaken by the Public Appointments Service commenced on 11 September and attracted more than 3,000 applications. Interviews are now under way.
I am assured that Revenue’s plans are on track for the first 200 additional trade facilitation staff to be trained and in place by 29 March 2019. These staff will be assigned to trade facilitation work in the ports and airports and to support trade and business in undertaking an appropriate level of Brexit related preparation.