As the Brexit deadline of 31 October 2019 draws nearer, I am very conscious of the urgent need for businesses to take action to prepare and plan for Brexit, despite current uncertainties.
I am working in collaboration with the Accountancy Bodies of Ireland and relevant State agencies organising Brexit briefing events in some of the areas that are likely to be most impacted by Brexit. These Brexit events cover a broad range of important topics to help businesses prepare for Brexit. They cover the suite of Government financial supports available to businesses, including specific Brexit loan schemes; the complex issue of customs procedures and formalities as well as other import and export controls in the agri food sector, supply chain management issues as well as issues that businesses need to be aware of around accreditation and product certification to ensure continued access to the EU market post Brexit.
As well as agencies from my Department, I am delighted that a number of other State agencies are participating in the events to provide hands on assistance to businesses taking part in the events. Agencies participating include the Local Enterprise Offices, Enterprise Ireland, the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI), the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), InterTradeIreland, the Revenue Commissioners, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland and Microfinance Ireland.
Two events have taken place to date, the first in Cavan on 4 July and the second in Monaghan on 8 July. Registrations for both events were in excess of 100 with final numbers at the Cavan event at c. 70 people and c. 80 people at the Monaghan event. On Thursday of this week I am holding a further event in Donegal town to cover the counties of Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim. Currently, registrations for this event are running in excess of 130.
I plan to hold a further Brexit briefing event in Louth for the counties of Louth and Meath in early September.
Enterprise Ireland (EI) has delivered Brexit events nationally to support businesses to analyse their Brexit exposure and take vital action. These events provide information and practical support through individual meetings in the following areas:
- Strategic Sourcing
- Financial & Currency Management
- Customs Transport & Logistics
To date there have been 16 EI Brexit Advisory Clinics which took place between 2017 and 2019 across the country, with over 1,200 participants at these clinics. These events took place at Letterkenny (x2), Tralee, Portlaoise, Claremorris, Cootehill, Charleville, Dublin (x2), Galway (x2), Dundalk, Waterford, Limerick, Cork and Portlaoise.
The 31 Local Enterprise Offices have had 4,655 participants attend their LEO Brexit events to date. It is estimated that there have been approximately 200 LEO led Brexit Seminars/events. Such seminars/events include the following:
- Is Your Business Ready for Brexit
- Brexit Programme - MEET THE USA BUYERS - PROGRAMME
- Brexit Strategy Development Workshop 1
- Beyond Local - Why making your marketplace international makes total sense
- Exporting to Germany - Opportunities for food producers
- Get your Business Brexit Ready
- LEO Meath BREXIT Preparatory Seminar
- Brexit Proof Your Business
- Bracing Tipperary Business for Brexit-Horse & Jockey
To date the LEOs have run 36 Customs Workshops, with a total of 531 participants. There are 12 workshops planned in the short term with further courses to be scheduled.
InterTradeIreland have held 18 Brexit-related events since 2017, with over 2,000 participants at these events.
These have all been in addition to the Government’s ‘Getting Ireland Brexit Ready’ public information campaign which was launched in September 2018 to inform and advise about Brexit preparedness and the range of support measures and resources that the Government has put in place. Over 2,500 people attended public outreach events held throughout October and November in Cork, Galway, Monaghan, Dublin, Limerick and Letterkenny with strong participation from the business community.
My Department has also prepared a checklist of key actions that businesses can take now to ensure that they will still be able to trade with the UK after it leaves the EU. I was pleased to announce the checklist at the first Brexit event in Cavan. The checklist is available on my Department's website at https://dbei.gov.ie/en/Publications/Brexit-Preparedness-Checklist.html. It also contains useful contact details for the various Government Departments and Agencies that provide support and advice for businesses preparing for Brexit.