Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (138)

Jack Chambers


138. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the Brexit preparedness work undertaken by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34186/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The Government remains of the view that the best and only way to ensure an orderly Brexit is for the UK to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement, as agreed by the UK Government and endorsed by the European Council. However, given the ongoing political uncertainty in the UK, it is our assessment that there is a significant risk of a no-deal Brexit on 31 October. While we continue to plan for all scenarios, work on no-deal Brexit preparations has the highest priority across Government departments and State agencies. This work is coordinated by my Department and the Department of the Taoiseach.

A Secretaries General group, chaired by the Secretary General to the Government, meets weekly to oversee the ongoing work on no-deal Brexit preparations and contingency planning.  It is supported by an Assistant Secretaries Group, co-chaired by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of the Taoiseach, and a range of other Brexit-related interdepartmental groups, including a Senior Officials Group on Legislation, which oversaw the development of the Brexit Omnibus Act and a range of secondary legislation.

Following its approval by the Government, an updated Brexit Contingency Action Plan was laid before the Oireachtas and published on Tuesday 9 July. It was also debated in the Dáil on Thursday 11 July and presented at the Brexit Stakeholder Forum on 10 July.  The Action Plan reflects the extensive work which has taken place at EU level and on a whole-of-Government basis to prepare for a no-deal Brexit, including by setting out the next steps to be taken in respect of each issue between now and 31 October.

The Action Plan also emphasises the need for businesses to step up their preparedness measures between now and 31 October. Government has put in place a number of measures to advise and support businesses to prepare for new customs and other administrative requirements in a no-deal scenario. These measures include financial supports for businesses, and an intensified, individual business-focused engagement programme by Revenue, designed to support and assist businesses in understanding the potential impact of Brexit and how to prepare for and mitigate the risks.