The Government’s contingency planning for Brexit was initiated well in advance of the UK referendum in June 2016. The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade is overseeing the co-ordination of the whole-of-Government response to Brexit through the cross-Departmental coordination structures chaired by his Department.
In July 2018, and again in September 2018, a number of decisions were made at Cabinet relating to Brexit preparedness and contingency planning, including the phased recruitment of staff, as required.
The Government has already sanctioned €4m for the commencement of a phased process for the recruitment of additional staff to carry out the greatly increased volumes of import controls and export certification arising from Brexit.
A Working Group, chaired at Assistant Secretary level and comprising of officials from across the Department has been established to deal with Brexit issues. This Working Group is supported by the Department's Corporate Governance and Coordination Unit which is also responsible for coordinating the response to Brexit related issues within the remit of my Department.
My Department also has a full time dedicated attaché assigned to Ireland's Permanent Representation in Brussels. This officer is a member of the Department’s Working Group and is also fully involved in the preparations by Ireland’s diplomatic team in Brussels.
I am advised that my Department is keeping all Brexit related staffing requirements under review and that current requirements are being met from within existing resources.