Government unveils contingency No-Deal Brexit plan

The Government has published a Contingency Action Plan, setting out its approach to dealing with a no deal Brexit. This is the culmination of many months of work. This work continues both at a national and EU level and further information on no deal preparedness will follow in January and February. 

The Government and the EU remain committed to securing a negotiated outcome. However, that has not yet been achieved and we are now less than 100 days away from the UK withdrawal from the EU.

Contingency preparations for a “no deal” outcome must therefore be intensified as the risk of a disorderly Brexit increases, posing unique and unprecedented challenges.

On December 19, the European Commission published a Communication on Implementing its Contingency Action Plan, setting out measures, including legislative proposals, which it considers necessary to mitigate the most severe consequences of a “no deal” Brexit at EU level.

It is against this backdrop that the Government is presenting its assessment of the challenges and the measures considered essential to limit the damage of a “no deal” exit and to put in place measures to manage that exit as best as possible.

The Government’s overall objectives have been consistent from the start – seeking to minimise the impact on trade and the economy, protecting the peace process including avoiding a hard border, maintaining the Common Travel Area and reinforcing commitment to and participation in the EU. They continue to guide our approach, regardless of the type of Brexit we end up with.

The Government’s approach combines full participation in the overall EU framework for managing a no deal outcome with further specific challenges and responses at national level.

The detailed documentation published today sets out the Government’s analysis of a “no deal” Brexit under a number of important headings:

Economic and fiscal impact;

  • Security;
  • Northern Ireland and North-South relations;
  • Relations with Great Britain;
  • Sectoral analyses.

Specific actions identified in the Government’s analysis include:

Procurement of additional space and facilities at ports and airports to accommodate the significant increase in checks and procedures that will be required;

  • Acceleration of recruitment and redeployment of customs and agriculture officers to be in place as needed to carry out these checks and procedures;
  • Confirmation of 45 legislative changes that may be required and arrangements for urgent drafting;
  • Preparation for accelerated or emergency procedures in the Oireachtas to ensure timely enactment of necessary legislation;
  • Identification of a range of areas where further engagement with the European Commission and other Member States will be required, as part of the evolving response at EU level;
  • Continued participation in all relevant EU fora and preparatory processes, which has thus far led to publication of 78 separate stakeholder notices to assist businesses and citizens;
  • Further assessment of possible emergency measures that may be required in critical areas of medicines and food supply;
  • Ensuring full continued application of the Common Travel Area, including the associated freedom of movement and access to public services for citizens;
  • Continuation of the Government’s extensive programme of stakeholder engagement;
  • Continuation of the Government’s national and regional communications campaign “Getting Brexit Ready” with a greater focus on a “no deal” Brexit.