Land at ports to be bought up in no-deal Brexit scenario

Document outlines measures for a disorderly UK exit from European Union

The no-deal plans include the purchase of land at Dublin Port and Rosslare to prevent congestion from new customs, sanitary and animal health checks at the sea ports.

The Government has unveiled further contingency plans to cope with a potential no-deal Brexit, identifying affected sectors that would require up to 45 pieces of emergency legislation.

The no-deal plans, published last night, would include the purchase of land at Dublin port and Rosslare to prevent congestion from new customs, sanitary and animal health checks at the sea ports.

The plan aims to tackle how Ireland would handle a no-deal scenario where the United Kingdom would be "a third country" outside the European Union from March 2019, would be no longer represented in EU institutions and would fall outside EU rules.

“For Ireland, a no-deal Brexit would potentially involve severe macroeconomic, trade and sectoral impacts,” the Government says in the 133-page contingency plan.


“Grappling with the enormous range of impacts both in the immediate short term and in the longer term will involve difficult and significant choices of a practical, strategic and political nature.”

The plan says Brexit has the potential to impact every element of the economy.

‘Exceptional economic event’

“A no-deal Brexit would be an exceptional economic event which would be met with exceptional measures to support the continued operation of the Irish economy and our international trading links,” the report says.

The Government has produced the plan 100 days ahead of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU as continuing political rifts in London over the proposal withdrawal agreement increase the possibility of no deal being agreed.

The plans identify 45 issues that will require legislative changes in domestic primary and secondary legislation, though the Government would try to wrap these bills into as few pieces of legislation as possible.

The report says the necessary legislative measures required in a no-deal scenario will be introduced in the Oireachtas in early January.

The Government has asked all Ministers to identify non-Brexit legislation that is “absolutely essential for enactment” before the end of March 2019 in order to plan the parliamentary schedule in the coming months.

Contingency planning

“Given the proximity of the date of Brexit, it is now necessary in some cases to move from contingency planning to taking actions to mitigate the consequences of a no-deal Brexit,” the Government states.

The Cabinet will discuss the increasing risks around a no-deal scenario again at a meeting scheduled for Thursday, January 3rd.

The potential new legislation required in a no-deal scenario covers a diverse variety of areas, including primary legislation in sectors ranging from healthcare, railway safety and broadcasting to secondary legislation for areas from justice and security to sea fisheries and maritime jurisdiction to the movement of pets.

A site has been identified at Dublin port, the country’s busiest seaport, for an additional 33 inspection bays for trucks coming off ships and parking for 270 trucks to ensure parked vehicles do no halt other port traffic.

The additional infrastructure required includes new office space for an additional 144 staff at the port, a dedicated border control post for live animals and a new public office with eight counters or hatches.

Rosslare port will require 13 inspection bays for trucks disembarking ships, parking for 35 trucks, a dedicated border control post for live animals and a public office with six counters or hatches.

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is News Editor of The Irish Times