The Government has extensive preparations in place for a possible no-deal Brexit on 31 October 2019. In its Action Plan published in July 2019, the Government acknowledged that a no deal Brexit will be highly disruptive and will have profound implications across all aspects of society. It will be impossible for the UK to maintain the current seamless arrangements with the EU across the full range of sectors including transport connectivity, trade flows and supply chains.
The contingency plans in place, including in the transport sector, will mitigate but cannot eliminate the impacts of a no-deal Brexit.
The re-introduction of customs or border controls as a consequence of Brexit will undoubtedly increase transit times for all traffic travelling via or from the UK to Continental Europe, including for many Irish importers and exporters. The three locations for which Ireland is heavily dependent on connectivity to the UK are Dublin Port, Dublin Airport and Rosslare Europort.
The Office of Public Works has worked across Government with relevant agencies and Departments in delivering the required facilities for these agriculture, health and customs checks at these locations. Temporary facilities are now in place to meet the needs of these agencies. Additional staffing in Customs, Agriculture and Health have been recruited and trained to provide the necessary support and to manage the efficient movement of freight and people through these locations.
The necessary associated staffing and IT systems are also in place. I understand that testing of the relevant IT systems is continuing. Communications with stakeholders is ongoing and will continue during October 2019.
Notwithstanding the contingency actions underway in Dublin Port, a no-deal Brexit will undoubtedly increase the risk of congestion within the port and a knock-on impact on wider traffic within Dublin City. My Department is working closely with Dublin Port Company, OPW, Revenue Commissioners, Dublin City Council, Transport Infrastructure Ireland and An Garda Siochana to have appropriate traffic management plans in place in the event that there is significant congestion in Dublin Port that impacts on wider traffic flows in the surrounding road network.