Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Questions (370)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

370. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Health if he has formally met with his UK counterpart to discuss Brexit and its impact on east-west trade reciprocal arrangements and all other Brexit related matters that fall within the remit of his Department; the number of times they have formally met to discuss Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51889/18]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The negotiations on both the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement and political declaration on the framework for the EU-UK future relationship, both of which were endorsed by the European Council on 25 November, were conducted on behalf of the EU27 by the EU's Chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, and the Commission's Article 50 Taskforce.

Brexit is a priority issue for this Government. Along with the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and cabinet colleagues, I have engaged with EU partners and the UK to advance Ireland’s priorities. I and Minister of State Catherine Byrne on my behalf have met directly with Ministers from the UK Department of Health and Social Care, and from Scotland on the health aspects of Brexit on eight occasions since the start of 2017. Most recently I met bilaterally with the UK Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health Lord James O'Shaughnessy to discuss the health aspects of Brexit during my trip to Brussels for the EPSCO Meeting of Health Ministers on 7 December. 

On the specific issue raised by the Deputy the Government has already taken a number of key decisions on measures to support East – West Trade. These include staffing, ICT and infrastructure measures to implement necessary checks and controls at our ports and airports.  To support businesses, the Government provided dedicated Brexit support measures in Budgets 2017, 2018 and 2019. Ireland is working closely with the EU and fellow Member States to discuss and to facilitate the use of the UK as a landbridge post Brexit.