On 19 December 2018, the Government published our Contingency Action Plan, which outlines our approach to No-Deal Brexit planning.
Last week, as part of the Brexit Contingency Action Plan, Government published the general scheme of a Bill that will be necessary in the event of a No Deal Brexit. The draft Omnibus Bill, the Miscellaneous Provisions (Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on 29 March 2019) Bill, focuses on measures protecting our citizens and supporting the economy, enterprise and jobs, particularly in key economic sectors.
Insofar as my Department is concerned, Part 3 of the Omnibus Bill, consisting of nine heads, contains legislative provisions relevant to functions under my Department. The provisions in Part 3 contain provisions aimed at improving the range of supports offered by Enterprise Ireland to help companies face the challenges of Brexit.
Specifically, the intention is to increase the ability of Enterprise Ireland to provide a competitive and flexible offering to its client companies in terms of R&D grants and to allow EI to provide low interest debt instruments.
In increasing powers for EI to provide lending supports to businesses, we are helping to preserve the value of the State’s investments in these businesses and in assisting companies through restructuring or re-development programmes.
Priority is currently being given by the Government and the Offices of the Attorney General and of Parliamentary Counsel to the urgent drafting and introduction of those legislative measures necessary to deal with the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on 29 March 2019.
It is Government's firm intention to brief and regularly update the Opposition on the Brexit legislation as it develops.
For my part, I stand ready to work with the Joint Committee on Business, Enterprise and Innovation in terms of any briefing update on Part 3 of the Omnibus legislation. I should point out that the draft heads of Part 3 of the Bill have been extracted from an existing Bill, the Industrial Development (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill that is already on the Government's legislative programme. The Joint Committee has already considered this Bill in that guise and decided against the need for pre-legislative scrutiny of that Bill.
With Government I am prepared to work closely with Opposition parties in the Oireachtas and all members of the Dáil and Seanad in ensuring that the necessary no deal Brexit related legislation will be in place before the 29 March.