Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Questions (48)

Seán Fleming

Question:

48. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Taoiseach if the issue of a referendum on a united Ireland or a Border poll is included on the national risk register; if the risk committee that prepared this register examined this issue; if so, the assessment and determination; the reason this issue is or is not included on the risk register; and if a Department supplied information in respect of including this issue to those involved in drawing up the national risk register. [11717/19]

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Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

Issues in relation to Northern Ireland are considered as part of the annual National Risk Assessment. Although a border poll would not be regarded as a risk, and the very important and sensitive policy issues related to it would not be dealt with in the Risk Assessment process, the question of relationships on the island of Ireland, and between the two islands, are always considered as part of the annual National Risk Assessment. The National Risk Assessment was one of the first official acknowledgements of the risks posed by a potential Brexit including associated risks for Northern Ireland.

Since the National Risk Assessment was first introduced, these issues have featured prominently, and been supported by accompanying text, in the published annual Report as follows:

National Risk Assessment

Relevant Risk:

2014

Geopolitical: ‘Uncertainty over UK’s relationship with the EU and enhanced devolution within the UK’

Geopolitical: ‘Terrorist incidents and Armed Conflict’

2015

Geopolitical: ‘Uncertainty over UK’s relationship with EU’

Geopolitical: ‘Devolution and related political developments in the UK’

Geopolitical: ‘Terrorist incidents and Armed Conflict’

2016

Overview: ‘Possible Effects of Brexit’

Geopolitical: ‘Brexit/Uncertainty over UK’s relationship with EU’

Geopolitical: ‘Northern Ireland and Devolution in the UK’

Geopolitical: ‘Terrorist Incidents and Armed Conflicts’

Economic Risks: ‘Trading Relations with the UK’

2017

Geopolitical: ‘Departure of the UK from the EU’

Geopolitical: ‘Instability in Northern Ireland and changes to constitutional makeup of the UK’

Economic Risk: ‘Impact of Brexit on vulnerable sectors of economy’

Social Risk: ‘Migration and integration’

2018

Geopolitical: ‘Departure of the UK from the EU’

Geopolitical: ‘Instability in Northern Ireland’

Economic Risk: ‘Impact of Brexit on vulnerable sectors of economy’

Social Risk: ‘Migration and integration’

Work has now commenced on the 2019 Report, but is at an early stage. There will be extensive consultation and stakeholder engagement throughout its development, with the Draft Report published for a 4 week public consultation period in April, and an Open Policy Forum will also be held in May. A significant volume and range of risks, including in relation to Northern Ireland, will therefore be discussed and considered over the coming months, before the final National Risk Assessment Report for 2019 is published by July.