I thank the Deputy for raising this issue. My Department has conducted extensive research on a wide range of issues affecting businesses with regard to Brexit. In February 2018, my Department published an independent expert study undertaken by Copenhagen Economics entitled, "Ireland and the Impact of Brexit". This study examined the implications of Brexit for the economy and trade and quantified the impact of new barriers to trade which might emerge as a result of Brexit. The suite of Brexit supports that have been put in place for businesses through the enterprise agencies under my Department's remit have been informed by this report as well as other studies and analysis undertaken across government.
With regard to exports moving directly from Ireland to continental Europe, Brexit will have no impact in terms of new or additional customs controls; the Single Market will continue to apply. For goods transiting through the UK using the landbridge, there may be implications as a result of a no-deal Brexit. To facilitate the import and export of goods, the Government’s preparedness and contingency planning for Brexit has, from the start, included issues relating to the continued effective use of the UK landbridge. This is a priority for the Government given its importance for exporters and importers as a means of access to the rest of the Single Market.
Issues relating to the optimal arrangements and necessary infrastructure for customs and related inspections at ports and airports are primarily matters for the Revenue Commissioners and for my colleagues, the Ministers for Finance and Transport, Tourism and Sport.
Retaining the effective use of the land bridge post-Brexit has been discussed at both political and official level with both the UK and the EU. As a result of these contacts, the importance of maintaining the land bridge has been recognised through the protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland in the draft withdrawal agreement, which reaffirms the commitment of the UK to facilitate the efficient and timely transit through the UK of goods moving from Ireland to another EU member state or another country, or vice versa. In a no deal scenario, however, it is anticipated that the land bridge, at least in the initial period, may be subject to delays. This will have a knock-on impact on goods travelling to and from Ireland.