Thursday, 11 July 2019

Questions (414)

Robert Troy

Question:

414. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of Brexit staff hired by her Department and agencies under her remit in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, following the announcement of additional staff recruitment as a Brexit measure in Budgets 2017, 2018 and 2019; and the number of new staff hires and replacement staff in tabular form. [31102/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

With regard to my own Department, a dedicated Brexit Unit was established in 2016 and is led at Assistant Secretary level within the EU Affairs, Trade Policy and Licensing Division, to coordinate and represent the Departmental and Agencies response to Brexit and to support me in my position at the Cabinet Committee dealing with Brexit. The Unit also leads on engagement with a broad range of stakeholders to inform and validate our response to Brexit.

When the Unit was set up in 2016 it consisted of three staff, one Principal Officer, one Assistant Principal Officer and one Higher Executive Officer. Additional staffing of two Assistant Principal Officers, one Higher Executive Officer and one Clerical Officer were appointed in 2017. The Department also appointed a further AO to the Unit in early 2019 but this position has recently become vacant.

Also within this Division, two officials (Assistant Principal Officer and Administrative Officer) working in the Trade Policy Unit are assigned to Brexit related trade matters as part of their portfolios.

In the Division with responsibility for Indigenous Enterprise, two posts were approved (Assistant Principal Officer and Administrative Officer) to work solely on Brexit mitigation measures to support business impacted by Brexit.

A team of three was approved to establish a new Getting Business Brexit Ready Unit. This unit was comprised of one Assistant Principal Officer, one Administrative Officer and one Executive Officer. All three appointments were made in January 2019. A decision was later made to subsume the AP role into our Communications team to promote awareness of DBEI Brexit supports to all businesses in Ireland.

Staff expertise is also being drawn from across a number of different policy areas of the Department in shaping our Brexit response and a number of areas that are most impacted have been assigned additional staff including but not exclusively to deal with Brexit. We are continually prioritising the Brexit challenges and will actively keep the staffing requirements under review through workforce planning.

I have set out in the table below the number of additional staff appointed to Brexit related positions in my Department and in the Agencies under its remit during 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019.

In relation to the second part of the Deputy’s question, it is not possible to provide the numbers for all new hires and replacement staff over the three-year period in the time allotted. However, I have supplied the total headcount for my Department and each of the relevant agencies in the following table for further information.  

 

Department / Agency

2017

2018

2019

Headcount as at end Q2 2019 

Department

5

3

4

 915

NSAI

0

4

4

 150

HSA1

0

6

4

 179

SFI

2

3

0

 61

Enterprise   Ireland2

27

20

5

 624

IDA Ireland

10

7

0

 313

1 The HSA have advised that a further two staff will be in place by end July and recruitment is underway for a further 2 posts.

2 The recruitment process in Enterprise Ireland is ongoing with 5 posts remaining to be filled.

While there are eight Agencies under the remit of my Department, the 5 listed above are the agencies in receipt of funding for additional Brexit related posts.

Given the wide mission that my Department and its Agencies have, the UK’s decision to leave the European Union continues to impact significantly on all policy fields. In this context, officers across all areas may deal with Brexit related policy issues and/or queries depending on their nature; and many other posts within the Department and its Agencies have responsibilities relating to Brexit.