Big interest in 600 new customs jobs as part of Brexit planning

Government says it will not prepare for extra checks on Border with Northern Ireland

A Guinness lorry at the Border. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images

A Guinness lorry at the Border. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images


There have been 3,000 applications for 600 newly created customs officer positions, the Cabinet will be told on Tuesday as part of an update on Brexit contingency planning.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney and Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe will outline progress on infrastructure and staffing to deal with extra checks between mainland Britain and Ireland.

The Government insists it will not make any preparations for extra checks on the Border with Northern Ireland.

The Cabinet is also set to discuss plans to expedite the establishment of a new electoral commission.

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy is expected to bring a memo to Cabinet detailing plans for the establishment of the commission, along with details of what powers it would have.

It is understood that an “impact analysis” of a potential new Bill to establish the commission will be discussed by ministers.

The Oireachtas Environment Committee undertook a public consultation process on the establishment of an electoral commission in 2015 and published a report on the issue in January 2016.

The report contained a series of recommendations for establishing an electoral commission. It proposed that the commission take on powers such as managing elections and referendums, maintaining the register of political parties and the transfer to the commission of the regulation of political funding and spending currently under the control of the Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo) and local authorities.

The Department of Housing has spent the last number of months formulating the regulatory impact analysis for the Bill, which will be discussed on Tuesday.

This is expected to outline the options for establishing the commission, including functions that might be assigned to it.

Citizens’ Assembly

The Citizens’ Assembly voted 94 per cent in favour of establishing a permanent electoral commission earlier this year. A total of 68 per cent voted that the Government should provide money to both sides equally in referendum campaigns.

And 94 per cent were also in favour of the Referendum Commission being obliged to give its view on significant matters of factual or legal dispute that arise during a referendum campaign in the public domain, including on social media.

It is understood that Mr Murphy will also bring proposals before Cabinet to modernise the electoral registration process.

The Government decided in March 2017 to begin work on the modernisation of the voter registration process in light of the possible need to register voters resident outside the State in the event that a referendum on extending the vote in presidential elections is passed.

A referendum will be held next year to ask whether the right to vote in the presidential election should be extended to Irish citizens living outside the State.

It is understood that modernising the system, including introducing an online register, could take up to three years to complete.

European Championship

The Cabinet is also set to be updated on preparations to host the Uefa European Football Championship in 2020 as well as other potential major event bids.

It is also expected that a report on planning issues in Donegal County Council will be brought before the Government.

A report by Copenhagen Economics will also be brought by the Minister for Business, Heather Humphreys.

The report, a joint initiative between Ms Humphreys’s department and the departments of enterprise in Denmark, Finland and the Czech Republic, will find that while the EU single market has delivered huge benefits in terms of reducing barriers for trade of goods, there are gaps in the current EU regulatory regime for services. It points to areas where improvements are needed.

It has found that, to date, the single market has on average reduced trade costs by 20 per cent for goods, but by only 7 per cent for services.

There will also be a joint proposal between Ms Humpreys and Minister for Defence Paul Kehoe to establish a permanent flood-relief scheme.

Applicants will receive a “quick” payment, which will be capped at an upper limit of €5,000.

There will also be scope for a further payment of up to €15,000 after a more detailed assessment around what losses have been incurred.

The target group of the scheme are sole traders and small businesses with a small number of employees, as well as voluntary, community and sporting bodies.