Brexit: Revenue ‘updating IT systems’ for no-deal scenario

Donohoe says technology platform will be able to handle different Brexit outcomes

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe. Photograph: Brenda FItzsimons/The Irish Times

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe. Photograph: Brenda FItzsimons/The Irish Times

 

A no-deal Brexit will be “beyond resourcing” and the consequences for the European Union as a whole will be “exceptionally significant”, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has warned.

“We are engaging in evaluation of what could happen in a no-deal scenario,” he said. That is why the upscaling of the Revenue Commissioners’ IT systems was so important, he said.

The Minister told Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath that the “priority of the Revenue Commissioners to date has been on upgrading its relevant IT systems to have the most advanced systems possible to support and facilitate smooth and efficient trade flows”.

He said testing on the systems was well advanced and Revenue “is confident that the various IT systems will support the expected additional workload arising from Brexit”.

They were on course to ensuring the customs process could continue to work efficiently and effectively in a post-Brexit world.

During finance questions in the Dáil, Mr McGrath said just 200 of the 600 extra staff Revenue required would be ready by March 2019.

The Minister said recruitment began on September 11th, more than 3,000 applications were received and interviews are now under way.

Revenue plans are on track for first 200 “trade facilitation Staff” in ports and airports. Mr Donohoe said the staff being made available was in line with Revenue requirements. “They want 200 by March 2019 and the balance across the transitionary period,” which was being worked on by the EU and UK.

Mr McGrath asked: “What extra resources do Revenue need if this all goes wrong, if we have a cliff edge Brexit and we have no deal by March 2019?”

The Minister told him that “the consequences of being in that place stretch beyond resourcing for all of the European Union”.

That was why work on the evaluation and upscaling of IT systems was so important.

“We will have a technology platform that will be able to deal with the different scenarios.”

But he said if there was no agreement “the consequences for the EU as a whole will be exceptionally significant”.

He said: “The European Commission at the moment is looking at how different papers in relation to how different member states will handle a no deal scenario in different policy area.

“We would have to get an indication from the Article 50 taskforce that we are in a no deal spectrum and to date that guidance has not been provided.”