Explainer: What does the no-deal Brexit Bill do?

Omnibus Bill would provide financial support to businesses and continue provisions of the CTA

Financial support of €5.75 million is being given by Enterprise Ireland to the Cork-based Carbery Group, the manufacturer of Dubliner cheddar cheese, to cope with the effects of Brexit.

Financial support of €5.75 million is being given by Enterprise Ireland to the Cork-based Carbery Group, the manufacturer of Dubliner cheddar cheese, to cope with the effects of Brexit.

 

The omnibus Bill would provide financial supports for businesses in a no-deal Brexit and additional measures, not included in summary legislation, set out in the heads of Bill published last month.

Under the legislation, Enterprise Ireland will be able to lend to businesses, while businesses will benefit from the deferred accounting on the treatment of VAT imports from the UK to avoid an immediate payment at the point of importation of the goods that would result on a heavy drain on cashflow, potentially damaging small and mid-sized businesses.

It is estimated that 60,000 to 70,000 businesses trading with the UK stand to benefit from this deferred VAT measure, which was included in the legislation after intensive lobbying by business and industry groups.

There are an estimated 100,000 companies which have an exposure to the UK that could benefit from the new financial support measures that would be granted to Enterprise Ireland under the legislation.

“Enterprise Ireland will have maximum flexibility to support businesses particularly in vulnerable sectors,” Tánaiste Simon Coveney told a press conference on the publication of the legislation on Friday.

Mr Coveney referred to financial support of €5.75 million being given by Enterprise Ireland to the Cork-based Carbery Group, the manufacturer of Dubliner cheddar cheese, to cope with the effects of Brexit in a transaction that received EU backing without breaching State aid rules. He said this is an example of new supports available to companies.

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The company works with 1,260 farmers and produces cheese mostly for British consumers. The financial support will help the company as it shifts to the production of mozzarella cheese in a bid to find new customers.

“That potentially is a flavour of things to come as to how the State might be able to help companies to diversify because of an external factor outside their control,” he said.

Ship pilots and travel

Additional changes to the legislation include a measure to protect ship pilots guiding boats in the country’s harbours by extending the period of validity for qualifying certificates from one year to three years and allowing them to apply for certificates in the period up to Brexit on March 29th even if their certificates have not expired by then.

The Bill deals with the gap which would have been created by Brexit in the recognition of UK-issued certificates that the masters of ships relay on to be eligible to guide a ship into an Irish port.

A large part of the legislation would continue the provisions of the Common Travel Area, the long-standing arrangements that permit Irish people to enter and work in the UK and for British people in Ireland.

The UK home office has told the Government that it is updating its own legislation - the Immigration and Society Security Coordination Bill - to continue these arrangements from a UK perspective.

Hundreds of thousands of people will benefit from the legislation protecting reciprocal arrangements involving Irish and British citizens, including 132,000 people in Ireland who receive social welfare payments from the UK and 28,000 people in the UK - more than 95 per cent of whom are in Northern Ireland - who receive social welfare payments from the Irish State.

The legislation introduces changes to the extradition system between Ireland and the UK applying provisions of the Council of Europe Convention on Extradition, the 1957 multilateral extradition treaty drawn up by member states of the Council of Europe, after the UK is no longer part of the European Arrest Warrant system.

The 1957 convention is regarded as slower and more cumbersome than the European Arrest Warrant system and could throw up more grounds that individuals could raise legal challenges to extradition.

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