Tuesday, 16 November 2021
Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions
I thank the Deputy for his question and his ongoing interest in the Brexit issue. The full implications of the UK's departure from the EU remain to be seen but they will be significant. We need to remember that the EU–UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement does not replicate the status quo. Seamless trade no longer exists. This is why the Government has been working to prepare for Brexit for several years. Our total Brexit-related expenditure since the UK referendum on EU membership is now over €1 billion.
The Brexit adjustment reserve represents an important response by the EU to the challenges posed by the UK's departure from the EU and an important expression of solidarity with Ireland. The purpose of the reserve is to help counter the adverse economic and social consequences of Brexit in the sectors and member states that are worst affected.
Ireland will receive just over €1 billion in Brexit funding, the biggest single allocation for any member state, representing just over 20% of the total fund. It is appropriate that Ireland, as the member state most impacted by Brexit, would be the largest beneficiary.
On the NDP, I consider it prudent and more appropriate over the longer term to focus on core capital spending requirements, excluding the once-off spending that may be required to meet the emergency needs arising from Covid-19 and Brexit. These once-off costs can be considered as part of the annual budgetary process, and provision can be agreed upon for the upcoming year if required.
The substantial investment detailed in the NDP will more broadly support investment that is growth enhancing and will meet the challenges caused by Brexit. For example, there is a considerable investment to support the enterprise and agriculture sectors in innovating, with a particular focus on green and digital transition, to make both more sustainable in the longer term.
Under national strategic objective 6 of the NDP, which is to achieve the delivery of high-quality international connectivity, there is a commitment to continuing investment in our port and airport connections to the rest of the EU, the UK and the rest of the world. This is integral to underpinning international competitiveness and it is also central to responding to the challenges, as well as the opportunities, arising from Brexit.