Government remain firmly of the view that the best way to ensure an orderly UK withdrawal, in a way that addresses the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland, is to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement. It still offers the best path to an orderly Brexit.
It is the Government’s assessment that there is a significant risk of a no deal Brexit on 31 October. Work on no deal Brexit preparations therefore has the highest priority across Government. To be clear, a no deal Brexit will have profound implications for Ireland on all levels. These include macroeconomic, trade and sectoral challenges, both immediately and in the longer term. It will also pose particular risks for the Good Friday Agreement, for the all-island economy and for Northern Ireland’s economy, political stability and community relations.
In terms of Ireland's preparedness measures, the Brexit Contingency Action Plan Update, published on 9 July, reflects the extensive work which has taken place at EU level and on a whole-of-Government basis, including the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Act 2019 (Brexit Omnibus Act), to prepare for a no deal Brexit.
The Action Plan sets out the next steps to be taken, by Government Departments and State Agencies, businesses and individuals, between now and 31 October. It puts particular emphasis on the need for increased preparedness measures, by exposed businesses in particular.
As part of Government's work to support businesses in preparing for Brexit, on 4 September I launched 'Getting Your Business Brexit Ready - Practical Steps', which highlights the nine key steps all businesses should take now to prepare for the UK's departure from the EU.
In parallel with our preparedness work at national level, the Government is working closely with the European Commission on how, in the absence of the Withdrawal Agreement, to meet the shared twin objectives of protecting the integrity of the Single Market and Ireland’s place in it, and protecting the Good Friday Agreement.
It is only by Government, business and citizens working together nationally and with our EU partners that we can aim to mitigate as far as possible the impacts of a no deal Brexit, and ensure that we are as prepared as we can be for the changes it will bring.