Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Ceisteanna (436, 441)

Aindrias Moynihan

Ceist:

436. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of preparations for facilitating persons and materials travelling through Cork Airport in the event of a no-deal Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37469/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Aindrias Moynihan

Ceist:

441. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the up-to-date preparations for facilitating persons and materials travelling through Cork Airport in the event of a no-deal Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38348/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 436 and 441 together.

The Government’s current assessment is that there is a significant risk of a no-deal Brexit, which will have profound implications for Ireland. The Government has been preparing for Brexit for over three years to make sure that Irish citizens and businesses are as ready as possible for all scenarios. No-deal preparations have always had the highest priority and intensive engagement with stakeholders across all sectors continues.

As the Deputy will be aware, the European Commission last year put forward a draft legislative proposal aimed at ensuring basic air connectivity in a no-deal Brexit scenario. The measures provide a degree of certainty to the Irish aviation sector and to the travelling public.

Under the Common Travel Area (CTA), Irish and British citizens move freely and reside in either jurisdiction and enjoy associated rights and entitlements. Both the Government of Ireland and the UK Government have committed to maintaining the CTA in all circumstances. In light of these factors, therefore, all direct flights between Ireland and the UK will still be able to operate post-Brexit.

At present, UK passport holders are processed through the EU channel at Irish airports and this will continue, with the EU channel being re-designated as an EU/UK channel. I understand that Cork Airport has identified all signs that would need to be amended, and will have customer services staff available to direct passengers, as necessary.

The establishment of the additional agriculture, health and customs checks which will be required at ports and airports in the event of no-deal is being co-ordinated by an interdepartmental group under the chairmanship of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. The group has focused on three locations which we rely heavily upon for our connectivity, namely, Dublin Port, Dublin Airport and Rosslare Europort. The Office of Public Works has been tasked with delivering the required facilities for these checks at these locations. Cork Airport is not expected to require any additional infrastructure to deal with any potential changes resulting from the UK’s departure from the European Union.

Government also supports the development of air connectivity and the expansion of air services more generally through funding from Tourism Ireland for cooperative marketing activity. An increased budget allocation in Tourism Ireland for 2019 will continue to support both seasonal and regional growth and will be underscored by a commitment to focus co-operative partnership activities for Great Britain and the North American and European markets. I continue to encourage all airports to avail of this funding to optimise air services.