1 February 2019

In this update:
• Irish Government response to the Westminster vote
• Tánaiste’s State of the Union address to the IIEA
• Cabinet discusses Government Contingency work
• Update information on medicines, agriculture, business standards & certification
• Latest on Irish Government Brexit events

Negotiations update

Following the outcome of Tuesday’s votes in Westminster, the Government issued a statement, re-iterating the agreed EU position that the Withdrawal Agreement is not up for re-negotiation. The Taoiseach also spoke to British Prime Minister Theresa May via phone, where they agreed to stay in touch in the coming period.

Before heading to Gymnich in Bucharest to meet his EU counterparts, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade, Simon Coveney delivered a State of the Union address to the IIEA on Wednesday where he underlined the importance of the Withdrawal Agreement, which ensures peace on this island and an orderly British exit from the EU.

In case you missed it, listen back to the Tánaiste on the BBC Andrew Marr Show and Minister for European Affairs Helen McEntee on BBC Radio 4 last weekend.

Contingency planning update

While ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement is still the Government’s preferred outcome, this update is the next step in a series of measures that the Government is taking, both nationally and in conjunction with the EU, in preparation for the possibility that the UK fails to agree a deal for their departure from the EU on 29 March.

As part of its No Deal Brexit Contingency Action Plan, this week the Cabinet received its latest update on no deal planning arrangements covering finance measures, agrifood and transport. A preliminary assessment of the economic and fiscal impacts of a disorderly Brexit was published by Finance Minister, Paschal Donohoe who also briefed the media on the details.

The Brexit Stakeholder Forum, which met this week, received the latest update on the Government’s Contingency Action Plan, which covers possible legislation, ports and airports, transport connectivity, agrifood and fisheries, medicines and retail grocery and distribution.

Regarding medicines supply, the Department of Health has produced a useful series of information which you can check out here.

For businesses:
• Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys continued to hear the latest from both industry and Government Enterprise Agencies this week.
• There was also a Government reminder issued to business regarding standards and certification post-Brexit
• Today, the landmark EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) comes into force, removing the vast majority of the €1 billion of duties paid annually by EU companies exporting to Japan.
A number of measures took place in the area of agriculture:
• The Taoiseach and Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine, Michael Creed both addressed the Irish Farmers Association AGM on Tuesday.
• Minister Creed addressed the AGM of the ICSA (Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmer’s Association) in Portlaoise.
• Minister Creed met with EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan where they discussed Brexit.
• A new €20m Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot scheme was announced this week in response to the impact of Brexit, further to the supports already in place.
• Brexit preparedness was also discussed yesterday at the Food Wise 2025 Committee.

Government Brexit Events

This week, Government Brexit events took place in Cavan, Monaghan, Sligo, Wexford, Dublin, and Dundalk.

Upcoming events
Today: HPRA Brexit Stakeholder event, Dublin
4 February: Revenue Trader Engagement event, Limerick
6 February: Revenue Trader Engagement event, Sligo
12 February: NSAI Brexit Information briefing, Belfast

Check out the Irish Government’s dedicated website for all Brexit information: www.dfa.ie/brexit

8 February 2019

In this update:
• Taoiseach in Brussels, Tánaiste in the US
• Dutch Foreign Minister visits Ireland to discuss Brexit
• Cabinet has its latest discussion on Brexit planning
• Updates for businesses & education sector
• Oireachtas receives their latest updates regarding finance & transport

Negotiations update

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was in Brussels on Wednesday, meeting with EU Institution Presidents Tusk and Juncker. Discussions covered the latest from Westminster and also Ireland’s No Deal contingency measures – you can read the joint statement from the Taoiseach and President Juncker here. While there, the Taoiseach also spoke with the President of the European Parliament, Antonia Tajani, and met with the Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier, the Chair of the European Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group Guy Verhofstadt and Irish EU Commissioner Phil Hogan. Today the Taoiseach is in Belfast to hear the latest views from the main Northern Ireland political parties while this evening, he will meet UK Prime Minister May in Dublin.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney met with Dutch Foreign Minister, Mr Stef Blok in Dublin on Monday to discuss latest developments in Brexit. Minister of State for European Affairs Helen McEntee had visited the border area with Mr Blok earlier that day, before she headed on EU business, visiting the Western Balkans with her Finnish counterpart Samuli Virtanen.

The Tánaiste is currently in the US undertaking a heavy agenda of engagements covering a number of issues, including Brexit. If not already seen, useful to check out the Tánaiste’s article in the Sunday Times last week capturing the importance of peace on the island of Ireland.

Contingency planning update

While ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement is still the Government’s preferred outcome, this update is the next step in a series of measures that the Government is taking, both nationally and in conjunction with the EU, in preparation for the possibility that the UK fails to agree a deal for their departure from the EU on 29 March.

The Cabinet’s Brexit update this week focused on VAT administration to help with potential cash flow burden on businesses post Brexit They also received an update on infrastructure arrangements at ports and airports.

EU officials, as part of their EU level contingency planning work, are undertaking a visit to all EU27 countries to discuss preparations. This week they visited Ireland where the EU Commission team visited the border area and met with Irish officials.

Further to VAT administration, here are a number of other Brexit updates for businesses:
• Businesses are reminded that, when sourcing products from the UK, they will have some additional responsibilities post-Brexit
• Revenue have now contacted over 80,000 businesses identified to be impacted by Brexit directly by letter to advise on steps they need to take to prepare for customs arrangements post-Brexit.
• Check out the Government’s Regional Enterprise Plans for the Midlands and Mid East which launched this week, 2 of 9 plans to be launched by Minister Humphreys in the coming weeks to help support regional economies into the future.
• Also useful to read Minister for Finance & Public Expenditure & Reform Paschal Donohoe’s Brexit update at the launch of the Irish Strategic Investment Fund
In the area of Education, Minister McHugh has started a series of five regional stakeholder forums around the country, where Brexit and its implications for the education sector will be discussed.

Regarding Oireachtas engagement this week:
• Minister Donohoe updated the Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure & Reform & Taoiseach on Brexit planning.
• Minister Ross provided the Joint Committee on Transport, Tourism & Sport with an update on the extensive work happening in his Department and Agencies to prepare for Brexit.

Government Brexit Events

This week, Government Brexit events took place in Dublin, Limerick, Longford, and Sligo

Upcoming events
12 February: NSAI Brexit Information briefing, Belfast
26 February: Enterprise Ireland, Essentials of Exporting, Galway
5 March: Brexit & Beyond – Strategies & Supports, Offaly
7 March: Brexit Ready for Export Seminar, Local Enterprise Office, Limerick
14 March: Enterprise Ireland, Essentials of Exporting, Monaghan

22 February 2019

In this update:
• Government publishes no deal legislation
• Tánaiste meets with Michel Barnier
• Revenue report a significant increase in traders getting Brexit ready
• Oireachtas Brexit briefings continue

Tánaiste Simon Coveney and Minister Helen McEntee following the publication of the Brexit Omnibus Bill this morning

Government publishes no deal legislation

The Government this morning published the Brexit Omnibus Bill. This single comprehensive Omnibus Bill, which comprises of 15 parts and has involved the work of 9 Ministers, is the next step in Government contingency planning.

The Bill is focused on helping prepare Ireland for some of the impact of a No Deal situation – protecting Irish citizens, supporting businesses and jobs, particularly in key economic sectors.

You can read more about this here.

Ratification update

The Tánaiste met with lead EU negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels this week, while attending the Foreign Affairs Council. See what the Tánaiste had to say on his way out of the Council meeting. This week the Tánaiste also met with Maltese Foreign Minister Abela Carmelo during his visit to Ireland. Minister Carmelo also visited the Border with Minister Ciarán Cannon.

Brexit was also discussed by Minister McEntee who met with her European counterparts in Brussels this week. The future of the EU was also on the agenda.

Contingency planning update

While ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement is still the Government’s preferred outcome, this update is the next step in a series of measures that the Government is taking, both nationally and in conjunction with the EU, in preparation for the possibility that the UK fails to agree a deal for their departure from the EU on 29 March.

This week, Cabinet Brexit discussions concentrated on the Omnibus legislation.

For businesses:
• Revenue reported a significant increase in traders getting prepared, with a 330% increase in applications for EORI numbers to export and import in February.
• Minister Humphreys warned businesses to get in touch with their suppliers to ensure continuity of supply post Brexit
• Minister Humphreys also held a Brexit review meeting of the Retail Committee Forum this week to hear the latest update on the sector
• Check out the Government’s Regional Enterprise Plan for the Mid-West which launched this week. Nine Regional Enterprise Plans are being launched in total to help support regional economies into the future.

In the area of agriculture:
• Minister Creed met EU Fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella in Brussels
• The Minister also met French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to discuss Irish and French fishing fleets.
• While this morning, Minister Creed welcomed confirmation from EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan of flexibilities on State aid limits for farmers and processors.
• Minister Humphreys welcomed State Aid approval by the EU Commission for an Irish cheese producer.

Engagement with the Oireachtas continues. In advance of the Omnibus Legislation being published today, seven Ministers appeared in front of their respective Oireachtas committees.
• Tánaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney (Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement)
• Employment Affairs Minister Regina Doherty (Committee on Employment Affairs and Social Protection)
• Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe (Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach)
• Children & Youth Affairs Minister Katherine Zappone (Committee on Children and Youth Affairs)
• Communications Minister Richard Bruton (Committee on Communications, Climate Action and the Environment)
• EU Affairs Minister Helen McEntee (Committee on EU Affairs)
• Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht Minister Sean Kyne (Committee on Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht)

Government Brexit Events

This week Government Brexit events included an Enterprise Ireland Webinar, a Revenue Brexit Customs Information Seminar in Dublin Castle, and Bord Bia Customs Training in Tipperary.

Upcoming events next week:
25 February: Two Revenue Customs Information Seminars, Portlaoise, Laois
26 February: Enterprise Ireland, Essentials of Exporting, Galway
26 February: Bord Bia, Regional Customs Training, Westmeath
26 February: Two Revenue Customs Information Seminars, Cork
28 February: Brexit and the Implications on Supply and Use of Chemicals, Machinery and Products in Irish Business, Cork
1 March: Brexit and the Implications on Supply and Use of Chemicals, Machinery and Products in Irish Business, Limerick

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