Last week, (9 July) the Government published an update to its Brexit Contingency Action Plan, which, recognising there is now a significant risk of a no deal Brexit on the 31 October, lays out the preparations which will take place over the next 3 months to help mitigate potential damage to the economy and Irish-UK Trade.
Key areas for continued work include preparing for Budget 2020, additional infrastructure for Dublin Port, Rosslare Europort and Dublin Airport, and a new phase of the Government’s Brexit communications which includes an intensified engagement programme by Revenue, focused on individual businesses.
Additionally, the Government has announced that it is stepping up its discussions with Brussels on how checks can be avoided on the Northern Irish border in the event of a no-deal. Specifically, it is proposing that animal and food inspections on British imports be done in Northern Irish ports to negate the need for checks on the Irish border. In addition to this, checks would likely be necessary at business level as well as random checks and controls near to the border to prevent smuggling. The objective of the discussions is to find an all-Ireland solution which avoids creating a security risk on the border while reassuring other EU countries that goods from the Republic of Ireland met EU standards and therefore do not require additional checks or controls as is currently the case.
Meanwhile in the UK, Conservative party members are concluding the voting process for the next party leader and therefore likely Prime Minister. The result is to be announced next Tuesday, July 23. Both candidates, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, insist they will take the UK out of the EU without a deal on October 31 if they don’t secure changes to the Northern Irish backstop within the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement. This is despite the insistence of EU leaders, and new President Elect of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen that negotiations will not be reopened.
The Updated Brexit Contingency Plan can be read in full here: https://merrionstreet.ie/MerrionStreet/en/News-Room/News/Brexit_Contingency_Plan_July_2019.pdf
Alison Graham – European Affairs Executive
29 Jan 2021