Chambers concerned by lack of detail in Govt’s Brexit contingency document

Very few specific plans and no financial details

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Brexit Lisa Chambers has raised a number of concerns with the government’s contingency plan for a no deal Brexit. The document, published last night, does not contain specific or concrete strategies to deal with many of the major issues which will affect Ireland in the event of the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal in March.

Deputy Chambers said, “Despite the build up to the publication of this document, the plan itself is severely lacking in detail, and in many cases simply references areas where actions may be required rather than outlining a strategy to be employed. In fact, there is very little that is new, and what is most concerning is the fact that it contains no financial plans at all. Based on this latest document, it would appear as if we will not be prepared for the no deal scenario.

“While the government says that specific areas have been identified which will require legislation, no further details were made available and it appears nothing has yet been drafted. This leaves very little time in the New Year for the drafting and passage of these laws.

“The agri-food sector will be one of the hardest hit but there are still no short-term assistance plans in place. While the Tánaiste has indicated that he will seek EU financial support in the event of a no deal, there are still no details at this late stage.

“While some work is underway to purchase land at our ports and airports, it is unlikely that these deals can be completed by the end of March, and the haulage industry still has no clarity on the situation regarding non-Irish drivers needing to cross the landbridge. There is also no solution to the inevitable delays at Dover. Similarly there are serious issues with aviation – while UK planes will be able to fly in and out of the EU, they will not be able to fly between member states leaving airlines such as Aer Lingus and Ryanair very exposed.

“Once again, the priority it seems has been to stage-manage the publicity surrounding this document rather than the content of the document itself.

“I am not happy that the document was leaked to the media before it was given to my party. Why was this document released after the Dáil rose for the Christmas recess? The net result is no Dáil scrutiny of the government’s plans until after the UK parliament votes on the Withdrawal Agreement.

“If the proposed timelines are followed, the Oireachtas will not have an opportunity to debate the contingency plans until Mid-January – just two months before the UK leaves the Union.

“The Government must explain the secrecy, the attempts to bypass the Dáil and why so much of their contingency plans are wishful thinking rather than meaningful plans,” concluded Chambers.