The Government’s Contingency Action Plan published in December outlines that ICT systems across Revenue, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the HSE Environmental Health Service will need to be enhanced to deal with the increased volume of documents and requests for clearance, and notes that an initial provision of just over €3m is already allocated to address ICT hardware and software requirements. Further phased steps are planned to upgrade and improve relevant ICT systems and infrastructure.
While the ICT systems for these enhanced controls are a mattter for the relevant Departments, and not one directly within my area of responsibility, I am advised that the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine secured funds to address ICT hardware and software requirements under the Central Case Brexit scenario in 2019. That Department was allocated €3.25 million for this work in 2019, with €2.75 million assigned for software and €0.5 million for hardware. Preparations are ongoing and I understand that the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine expects to fulfil its ICT requirements in the case of a no-deal Brexit.
In Budget 2017, the Minister for Finance included provision for a €2 million investment in scaling up Revenue’s customs IT framework and they have carried out significant work to increase systems capacity to cater for trade with the UK as a third country. As part of their preparations for Brexit, I am advised that priority has been given to upgrading relevant IT systems to have the most advanced systems possible to support and facilitate smooth and efficient trade flows in a post-Brexit environment. Revenue has advised that performance testing is at an advanced stage and based on testing and the work completed to date, Revenue is confident that their various IT systems will support the expected additional workload arising from Brexit. In the event of a no-deal scenario and if required, the upgrades and enhancements to the systems will be ready for March 2019.
To facilitate import controls by the Environmental Health Service at Dublin Airport, Dublin Port and Rosslare Port, the HSE is also making every effort to ensure that in a no-deal scenario the necessary information and communications technology infrastructure will be in place by 29 March.