My colleague, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Deputy Coveney, has the primary responsibility for leading on Brexit negotiations. My Department is contributing to discussions and providing policy advice relevant to its remit, as and when required.
The comprehensive document Ireland and the negotiations on the UK's withdrawal from the European Union: The Government’s Approach, published on 2 May 2017, outlined in detail the structures put in place by the Government to ensure a strategic and whole-of-Government response to Brexit that ensures a co-ordinated approach to the identification of key priority issues for the EU-UK negotiations, and the wider domestic response.
Since the publication of the comprehensive document, the Government has sought to further increase its strategic oversight of Brexit through the addition of a dedicated responsibility for Brexit matters as part of the role of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Cabinet committee structures have also been reformed and new Cabinet committees relating respectively to the economy, and EU affairs, including Brexit and the economic response to Brexit, have been established to provide an opportunity for cross-departmental input into the issues.
The Department for Rural and Community Development has been established to deliver on the Government's commitment to bring a greater degree of co-ordination and cohesion to all of the work of Government in so far as it impacts on rural Ireland and communities. The impact of Brexit on regional and rural businesses and on communities is relevant across a number of policy areas of the Department. In this context, considerations around the impact of Brexit are shared across different policy areas rather than being assigned to a single unit or to specific staff.
In addition, my role in the Cabinet committee on the economy gives me a specific forum to raise issues for rural Ireland relating to the economy, jobs, the labour market, competitiveness, productivity, trade, the action plan on rural development and the digital economy, including managing and mitigating the risks associated with Brexit and I do so in conjunction with the Minister, Deputy Ring.