Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Questions (48)

Michael Moynihan

Question:

48. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the status of Brexit preparations that his officials have informed him of. [50345/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The Government has been actively preparing for Brexit for more than two years to make sure that Irish citizens and businesses are as ready as possible for all scenarios. This has the highest priority across Government, and involves every Government Department and key Agencies, in tandem with the EU.

Actions we took during this time included passing key legislation to protect our citizens and support the economy, enterprise and jobs, in key sectors. We held over 1,200 stakeholder preparedness events across the country. The Government invested in the physical and ICT capacity at our ports and airports. We contacted over 102,000 businesses that traded with the UK in 2018 and 2019 and provided a wide range of business supports for enterprise and the agri-food sector including training and financial supports. All this work was supported by a broad range of TV, radio, print and social media information campaigns.

The Contingency Action Plan Update published by Government in July 2019 provided a comprehensive overview of no deal Brexit preparations and mitigation measures. Since the extension of the Brexit process, first to 31 October 2019 and then until 31 January 2020, this work has been further developed and refined.

Following the UK General Election and Prime Minister Johnson's stated intention to proceed as soon as possible with ratifying the Withdrawal Agreement, the risk of a no deal exit on 31 January 2020 has been considerably reduced. However, it remains the case that, until the ratification process is completed, a no deal scenario cannot be formally ruled out and our preparedness work continues.

Brexit of any kind will mean change for Government, business and citizens. The level of this change will be dependent on the status of EU-UK negotiations at the end of the transition period.

Given the range of possible outcomes, the Government will continue its preparedness and contingency planning work during the transition period. The planning already undertaken and lessons learned to date from our no deal preparations will remain valuable. A number of areas will require ongoing attention as they will be affected in any Brexit scenario. These include ongoing work to upgrade infrastructure at our ports and airports, business readiness for different scenarios including supports for the most impacted sectors and ensuring Irish exporters can continue to use the Landbridge effectively.