Thursday, 7 February 2019
Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
23. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the Brexit preparations under way in his Department in the event of a hard Brexit; the number and grade of staff assigned to Brexit issues; the qualifications held by the staff; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5801/19]
The Government’s Contingency Action Plan which was published in December 2018 sets out the comprehensive, cross-Government preparations that have been underway since before the UK referendum on EU membership in 2016. This work is continuing at both a national and EU level, and on 30 January 2019 the Government published an update outlining the progress that has been made since the original Plan was published.
Central to preparations within my own Department is ensuring that the overall approach of prudent financial management is maintained to strengthen the resilience of Ireland’s economy against the backdrop of heightened uncertainty, including from Brexit. Since the UK referendum in 2016, all of our national Budgets have been framed to prepare for the challenge of Brexit. The economic and fiscal policies which we have pursued mean that the economy is now in a better position to weather its impacts.
Budget 2019 introduced specific measures to ensure that Ireland is in the best possible position to respond to Brexit. Budget announcements include investment to build on initiatives aimed at supporting those sectors most affected.
Within the Department, Brexit issues are coordinated by a dedicated Unit dealing with Brexit and EU issues. The Unit supports me in my work on Brexit, leads work across the Department and its agencies, and represents the Department on the various groups that coordinate the Government's response to Brexit. Brexit issues are addressed by staff with relevant experience in areas across the Department.