Brexit represents a significant challenge for businesses in Ireland, which cannot be underestimated. That is why my Department started developing supports for businesses from the time when Brexit first became a possibility. Government’s priority is to ensure that businesses around the country can manage risks and avail of any opportunities. This has informed the range of advisory and financial supports that are in place.
My Department’s total exchequer allocation increased by 9.1% year on year, up from €871m to €950.2m. This is made up of a record €620m in capital and €330.2m in current funding, which includes an increase of €65m in capital – up 11.7% on last year’s allocation of €555m; and, an increase of €14.2m in current – almost 4.5% more than our 2018 allocation of €316m.
These developments have taken place in the context of the wider, whole-of-Government response to Brexit. This has included the “Getting Ireland Brexit Ready” public information events around Ireland and campaign to inform and advise about Brexit preparedness and the range of support measures and resources that the Government has put in place.
These events have brought together over a dozen Agencies and their parent Departments, including my Department, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport - under one roof to inform and advise both citizens and businesses.
Further Brexit-preparedness events have been organised by the network of Local Enterprise Offices, InterTrade Ireland, the NSAI and the HSA. Enterprise Ireland has also rolled out a series of Brexit Advisory Clinics to help businesses to prepare for Brexit.
Given the ongoing uncertainty around the terms and final date of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, the funding allocation to the current advisory and financial supports for Brexit preparation will be kept under review to ensure businesses around the country can manage risks and avail of any opportunities which may arise.