Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018 18:47
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said Ireland will have to hire about 1,000 new customs and veterinary inspectors by 2021 to prepare our ports and airports for Brexit.
Speaking after a Cabinet meeting at Derrynane in Co Kerry, he said that "with growing uncertainty" over whether British Prime Minister Theresa May will get a withdrawal agreement through Westminster, Ireland needs to "up our preparations when it comes to Brexit."
He said this includes preparing Irish ports and airports for a change in the rules of trade wast-west between Britain and Ireland in January 2021.
"That involves preparing for and hiring veterinary inspectors to carry out sanitary checks on agricultural products and plant-based products coming in from Britain and also customs inspectors," he said.
"We estimate we will have to hire about 1,000 customs and veterinary inspectors to prepare our ports and airports for Brexit."
He added: "In the unlikely event of a no-deal Brexit next March, of course it will not be possible to have 1,000 people in place for then but we will make contingency arrangements in the event that might arise."
However, he said that the main scenario the Government is preparing for is one in which agreement is reached at October’s Brexit summit.
He added that the Government was also preparing for a situation where "there is a transition period running until the end of 2020, and there is a backstop assuring us that there will be no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland."
"That's the central case that we are planning for. But of course behind that we have to prepare for other scenarios like a no deal Brexit," he added.
The Government has also increased resources for Irish diplomats overseas and for Bord Bia to open up new markets around the world for Irish farmers, he said.
Mr Varadkar said €450 million has been set aside for low-interest loans for businesses and the agri-food sector to allow them be prepared for Brexit.
It is understoof the Cabinet discussed Brexit for more than two hours at the meeting in Co Kerry.
By Conor McMorrow
Reporter, RTÉ Political Staff
Source of Article; https://www.rte.ie/news/brexit/2018/0718/979422-cabinet-to-discuss-preparations-for-hard-brexit/