Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Questions (44)

Lisa Chambers


44. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the steps he will take to prepare for a no-deal Brexit in view of the collapse of talks between the British Labour Party and the Conservative Party; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22514/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

My Department and I continue to monitor closely the ongoing political developments in the United Kingdom.

The decision of the April European Council to extend the Article 50 process until 31 October 2019, at the request of Prime Minister May, reduced the risk of an immediate no-deal Brexit. However, the ongoing and deepening political impasse in the UK, to which the Deputy refers, and the failure to date of the UK Parliament to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement mean that the risk of a no-deal Brexit is a significant and serious concern and we continue to prepare accordingly.

The Cabinet had a further discussion on Brexit last week and has agreed that work on preparations for a no-deal Brexit should continue to be taken forward as a matter of priority across Government Departments and Agencies.

The immediate focus since December 2018 has been on ensuring the necessary contingency measures are in place to limit the potential negative effects of a no deal Brexit. Much of this work, details of which were published in the Government's December 2018 Brexit Contingency Action Plan and subsequent updates, will continue to be relevant in any Brexit scenario.

The period afforded by the agreed extension is being used to further deepen our no-deal responses and to add to or refine completed measures to maximise readiness for a no-deal scenario. Many of the preparatory measures undertaken by businesses should also be of benefit in any scenario but it is important that businesses and other affected sectors continue to do their own preparations also.

The Deputy will be aware that legislative provisions have been passed by the Oireachtas in the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Act 2019 and remain ready to be deployed if and when required.

Brexit, in whatever form it takes, will have a significant impact on Ireland. Government, businesses and citizens must make the necessary preparations to minimise its impact on our trade and our economy. We are determined to be as ready as we can be, whatever the outcome of the Brexit process.