Ireland regrets the UK’s decision to leave the EU, although we respect it. From 1 January 2021, many aspects of our relationship with our nearest neighbour will change fundamentally as we will no longer share EU membership. The Government remains committed to protecting and strengthening the Ireland-UK relationship following the end of the transition period. Strong and vibrant connections are vital with our closest neighbour and trading partner.
The Taoiseach and Prime Minister Johnson at their meeting in Belfast on 13 August discussed the importance of nurturing and developing the bilateral relationship in a structured way in the context where the UK has left the EU.
While we will work with our UK colleagues on strengthening this relationship, it is also clear that Brexit, in any form, will have significant impacts in Ireland. The Department of Finance has projected over the medium-term the level of GDP would be around 2% – 3.25 % lower relative to a hypothetical status quo scenario.
The Brexit transition period will end in 43 days. Whatever the outcome of the ongoing future partnership negotiations, the UK will be outside the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union, and EU law will longer apply to or in the UK. This will bring significant and lasting change in the relationship between the EU and UK from 1 January, 2021,.
The Government has been planning for Brexit since before the UK referendum to ensure that Irish citizens and businesses are as ready as possible for all possible scenarios. The Government’s Brexit Readiness Action Plan, published in September, details the actions Government will take and the actions citizens and businesses should take to prepare for the end of the transition period. Citizens and businesses in the various sectors now need to finalise their readiness work for the end of the transition period.
Brexit planning covers many diverse areas within my Department, including, but not limited to, energy, climate, environmental standards, market surveillance and telecommunications policy.
As regards impacts on policies and sectorial areas relevant to my Department, it would appear difficult to identify positive impacts resulting from Brexit. My Department, and the agencies and bodies under its remit, continue to oversee and engage in preparedness and contingency planning for the post transition period, as appropriate for each policy area and/or sector.