Written answers

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Brexit Issues

Johnny Mythen (Wexford, Sinn Fein)
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31. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans for Rosslare Europort post Brexit; if the plans will be published; if recruitment has taken place for inspection officers; if so, the number appointed; the new infrastructure being put in place; and when he envisages the completion date of same. [11059/20]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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Regardless of the outcome of the EU-UK negotiations, the end of the transition period will see the UK no longer apply the rule of the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union. This will have immediate implications for trade flows.

Since 2018, the Government has been investing in the infrastructure and systems required for additional customs, official controls and SPS checks on EU-UK trade at Rosslare Europort, as well as at Dublin Port and Dublin Airport. This is one of the most visible aspects of the Government’s preparations for Brexit to date.

In Rosslare, work has been completed on a Border Control Post (BCP), an export office, 38 HGV parking spaces, two seal check and transit lanes, four inspection bays, a Revenue turnout shed and offices.  Work is continuing in order to enhance the live animal BCP inspection facilities already in place.

The Revenue Commissioners, the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine, and the HSE’s Environmental Health Service have all recruited additional staff including to meet the requirement to carry out checks and controls at our ports and airports after the transition period ends. These staff have been trained or are currently undergoing training and familiarisation and are assigned to a range of duties. Some staff were re-deployed when a no deal Brexit did not arise in 2019.

The finalisation of resource planning including the additional staff compliments for Rosslare Europort and other locations is being considered by the three agencies as part of Government’s ongoing preparedness work.  Assignments to Brexit related checks and control work are expected to consist of a mix of redeployments, contract and newly recruited officials.

Rosslare Europort continues to seek potential opportunities to further develop the port and has received the approval of the Iarnród Éireann Board (of which the port is a division) for a strategic plan to grow the port’s business. This includes investment plans for up to €25 million in customer facilities and port infrastructure, assets and new technology. The port is engaging with a number of potential new shipping customers to supplement existing operators and offer greater choice to freight and passenger business.

Work across Government to prepare for the end of the Brexit transition period will intensify in the period ahead. We remain committed to doing everything we can to ensure that citizens and businesses are as ready as they can be for the end of transition.

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