The Revenue Commissioners has completed the recruitment of more than 400 additional staff it planned to have in place for the UK’s original departure date from the EU this week.
New customs officials have been starting work at Dublin and Rosslare Ports and Dublin Airport in anticipation of substantially increased workloads arising from additional border checks after the UK's exit, which has been postponed to April or May, or possibly longer if Westminster cannot agree a Brexit deal.
A Revenue spokeswoman stressed again, however, that the tax authority was "not planning for customs posts between Ireland and Northern Ireland" after Brexit in line with the Government's "overriding objective" to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.
The additional tax officials employed for Brexit through a combination of open recruitment and transfers from other departments bring the total number of Revenue staff at Dublin Port to 180, Dublin Airport to 170, Rosslare Port to 50, Cork Port and Airport to 21 and Shannon Airport to 20 by next month.
The largest number of extra staff are being deployed at Dublin Port, the country’s busiest port which will face the greatest strain in post-Brexit checks given the number of ferry services it operates with UK ports.
The Revenue has said that in the event of a no-deal exit, a further 200 staff would be recruited between April and December 2019, completing the full complement of the 600 additional staff being hired for Brexit.
Recruitment was accelerated two months ago for the original Brexit date on March 29th as the likelihood of a no-deal increased with the rejection of the proposed withdrawal agreement by the House of Commons.
New Revenue figures show a significant increase in the number of businesses ramping up preparations for Brexit as continuing political uncertainty casts doubt on the nature and timing of the UK’s exit.
The Revenue has this year issued new registration numbers to 4,318 businesses and other traders that will allow them to continue trading with the UK after Brexit, compared with 2,976 for the whole of last year.
There have been about 1,700 new Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) numbers – a requirement for companies trading with non-EU “third countries” – issued this month alone.
In another signal of businesses stepping up their preparations for Brexit, the number of applications for a special status for fast-tracked border and customs checks in post-Brexit has risen again.
In the past six weeks, there have been a further 28 applications for “trusted traders” or Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status, bringing to 108 the number of applications received since the middle of November when EU and UK negotiators signed off on the proposed withdrawal agreement.