Brexit has been identified as my Department’s highest strategic risk and my Department along with other Government Departments and key Agencies, has been preparing for Brexit for three years. My Department participates in the co-ordination structures established to facilitate a whole-of-Government response to the issues raised by Brexit, including participation in the interdepartmental group on the EU and Brexit and the Brexit co-ordinators' group. My Department has been participating in the process of preparedness and contingency planning through these cross-departmental structures, and this process is ongoing.
As regards planning for our ports in the event of a no-deal Brexit, my Department participates in an Inter-Departmental group established to consider the adequacy of port and airport infrastructure and facilities, post-Brexit, chaired by the Revenue Commissioners. This group includes representatives from Revenue Commissioners, the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine (DAFM), the Department of Health, the HSE’s Environmental Health Service (EHS), the OPW, the Department of Justice and Equality, An Garda Síochána, and from my Department. This group has considered the requirements at ports for both the ‘Central Case’ and the ‘no-deal’ scenarios and the physical infrastructure requirements to facilitate and support the movement of trade, including the requirements of Revenue; DAFM; and the HSE’s EHS, to carry out necessary Customs interventions and Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) checks at ports and airports. The group has identified infrastructure required at Dublin Port and Rosslare Europort, as well as at Dublin Airport, and has agreed proposals on the nature and scale of new or extended facilities that would be required.
Consultations by my Department regarding Brexit with key maritime stakeholders including ports has included a Transport and Logistics All Island Sectorial meeting in Dundalk in January 2017, three Brexit Maritime Transport Workshops/Seminars (in April 2017, March 2018, and in January 2019) with a further Maritime Transport Workshop/Seminar planned for September 2019. Brexit is a key focus in discussions between the maritime side of my Department and individual Irish ports in 2018 and 2019 to date. Two Dublin Port Brexit Workshops have been held (in February and May, 2018), and 18 Meetings were held by my Department at individual ports where Brexit has been discussed during 2018 alone. Ports have continued their preparations for the UK’s departure from the EU by examining all possible options to avoid delays to goods transiting through their facilities, and by adjusting their infrastructural plans and they, as well as shipping companies, continue to examine possible new trade routes to mainland Europe, avoiding the land bridge through the UK.