Wednesday, 19 December 2018
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
441. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the Border inspection posts here; and the amount of current and capital funding expended by his Department on each post regarding upgrading facilities in each of the years 2016 and 2017 and to date in 2018, in tabular form. [53637/18]
442. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the amount of current and capital funding expended on each Border inspection post regarding Brexit planning, including research on structures and procedures at road posts, detailed analysis of statistics and liaison with customs in each of the years 2016 and 2017 and to date in 2018, in tabular form. [53638/18]
444. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to the UK Government's decision to defer the House of Commons vote on the European Commission’s draft withdrawal agreement with the UK and the President of the European Council’s confirmation that preparedness for a no-deal scenario is being discussed, if his Department is preparing or considering the making of an application to the European Commission for exceptional aid under Article 219 of Regulation (EU) No. 1308/2013 in order to safeguard farmers and the Irish agrifood sector against a hard no-deal Brexit and severe market disturbances; and if his Department and other Departments have had discussions with the EU Commission with regard to invoking Article 219 to date. [53641/18]
445. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to the UK Government's decision to defer the House of Commons vote on the European Commission's draft withdrawal agreement with the UK and President of the European Council’s confirmation that preparedness for a no-deal scenario is being discussed, if his Department submitted a request formally to the Brexit preparedness group under the European Commission’s task force on Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom seeking mitigation funding for the agrifood and fisheries sector in order to safeguard farmers and fishermen against a no-deal hard Brexit and the UK becoming a third country; and when such proposals were formally submitted. [53642/18]
446. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the preparations under way for a hard no-deal Brexit; the schemes being operationalised with other Departments; when these will be ready to be deployed; and when he will publish such plans. [53643/18]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 441, 442 and 444 to 446, inclusive, together.
Brexit preparedness planning by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has been proceeding in accordance with recent Government decisions, and in close consultation with other Departments and agencies, including the Revenue Commissioners, as per the whole-of-Government approach to Brexit. The focus has been on the staffing, infrastructural and information technology requirements that will arise in the context of the implementation of import controls at ports and airports on an East-West basis under the Central Case Scenario.
These requirements are significant, and will arise in respect of the import of live animals, plants, and products of animal and plant origin from the UK into Ireland and the EU once the UK has become a third country, the conditions for which are set out in EU legislation.
Budget 2019 included an allocation of €3.75 million for the first phase in a process of recruitment of the necessary staff that will run until 2021. This will facilitate the recruitment of up to 116 staff across a range of work streams in 2019. This allocation forms part of a larger allocation of €7 million in 2019 which will also address IT hardware and software requirements. The Department is also continuing to engage with the Office of Public Works and with other Departments and agencies, including the Revenue Commissioners, on the additional physical infrastructure that will be required at ports and airports.
More recently, the Department has been sharpening its focus on the potential response that may be necessary in the event of a disorderly Brexit at the end of March 2019. The focus in this regard is on the arrangements that will be necessary in order to fulfil our legal obligations as efficiently as possible while also ensuring the minimum possible disruption to trading arrangements.
As has been the case with planning for the central case scenario, the Department is focussing on staffing, infrastructural and IT aspects. It is also continuing its close co-operation with other Government departments and agencies, and is engaging in particular with the OPW in relation to the temporary physical infrastructure that may be required at port and airport locations in the event of a hard Brexit.
443. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if Rosslare Harbour has border inspection post status; his views on an application to the European Commission regarding same; and if consideration is being given to using funds in his Department to upgrade infrastructure at Rosslare Harbour to prepare for the possibility of the UK becoming a third country to the EU in 2019. [53639/18]
As part of on-going planning for Brexit, my Department has been working with other government departments, including the Revenue Commissioners and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, in assessing the infrastructure requirements at ports that are currently in receipt of consignments of products, plants and animals from the UK. Such consignments will require SPS checks to be carried out at a designated border control post, following the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union. In the event that a transition period is agreed between the UK and the EU as part of a withdrawal agreement, these checks will not apply until the end of the transition period.
Rosslare has been identified as a port where SPS checks will need to be carried out and as such it will be required to have a designated border control post (BCP) in compliance with EU rules. Work is underway, in conjunction with the Office of Public Works (OPW), to identify a suitable site for the construction of a BCP at Rosslare Port. The BCP will be part of a multi-agency central compound. My Department will continue to liaise with the OPW and the other State bodies who will be sharing this facility, with a view to ensuring that the design meets all legislative requirements, works as efficiently and effectively as possible and maximises value for money, in particular through the sharing of facilities where this is provided for by the legislation.