Thursday, 26 September 2019

Questions (38, 53)

Joan Burton


38. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the steps he has taken to date and plans to take to upgrade customs posts in the event of a no-deal hard Brexit, specifically in respect of areas along the Border with Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39044/19]

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Brendan Smith


53. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Finance the additional measures he plans to implement to counteract cross-Border smuggling and illicit trade from overseas, taking into consideration the additional difficulties that may emerge following Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39043/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 38 and 53 together.

The Government is determined in the context of Brexit, deal or 'no deal', to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. I am assured by Revenue that in line with that policy it has not upgraded any Customs posts in the vicinity of the border to deal with Customs formalities post-Brexit. 

In preparation for Brexit, Revenue is recruiting an additional 600 staff across a range of grades and is confident that this additional resource will be in place by 31 October. This additional resource is primarily being recruited for the purposes of facilitating and supporting legitimate trade.

Revenue has assured me that it already implements a comprehensive risk-based intervention programme to identify, target and disrupt all forms of cross-border smuggling and criminality. Revenue’s focus on such activity will continue post Brexit.

Revenue’s risk-based approach to illegal cross-border activity is, facilitated and supported by very close cooperation with other agencies of the State, including An Garda Síochána, and also with colleagues in Northern Ireland through the North-South Joint Agency Task Force.

I am satisfied that Revenue’s focus on cross-border smuggling is appropriate and well targeted. I know that Revenue keeps such matters under active review and is committed to quickly confront any new risks as they emerge. I remain open to consider any request from Revenue for additional resources in that regard, if required.