Within my Department and across the public service, preparations for Brexit have been underway since before the UK referendum in 2016. The Government’s Contingency Action Plan, published at the end of last year and updated at the end of January, sets out the comprehensive, cross-Government preparations for Brexit. All Departments have sector-specific plans in place identifying key challenges associated with Brexit and associated mitigation approaches.
Central to the Government’s preparation for Brexit is the prudent management of the public finances so as to ensure the economy remains competitive in the face of future economic headwinds. Dedicated measures to prepare for Brexit have been announced in Budgets 2017, 2018 and 2019, to ensure that Ireland is in the best possible position to respond to the challenges that Brexit will bring.
Most recently, Budget 2019 ensures that the economy is prepared for the challenges of Brexit through continued prudent management of the public finances: by balancing the books; reducing the debt burden; improving the competitiveness of our personal taxation system; and continuing to invest in infrastructure.
The impact of Brexit upon the economy and the public finances continues to remain uncertain given that the timing and nature of the UK’s exit remains unclear. With uncertainty remaining, the Government must continue to plan for the contingency of a disorderly exit. In this context spending plans will be kept under review to identify the potential resources required to deal with the impact of such a scenario this year. This uncertainty will also have implications for Budget 2020.