104. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if Mr. Michel Barnier elaborated on the scope of the alignment he referred to in his speech in the context of the Border when they met on 30 April 2018. (Question 19988/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Brexit Issues)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 104 and 108 together.
The Taoiseach and I met with Michel Barnier, the EU’s Chief Negotiator for the Article 50 negotiations, on 30 April in advance of his address to the All-Island Civic Dialogue. Our meeting offered an opportunity to take stock of the current state of play in the negotiations on both the future relationship and the draft Withdrawal Agreement, including progress on the ...

108. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he spoke with Mr. Michel Barnier regarding the way in which total alignment would work after Brexit in March 2019. (Question 19731/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Brexit Issues)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 104 and 108 together.
The Taoiseach and I met with Michel Barnier, the EU’s Chief Negotiator for the Article 50 negotiations, on 30 April in advance of his address to the All-Island Civic Dialogue. Our meeting offered an opportunity to take stock of the current state of play in the negotiations on both the future relationship and the draft Withdrawal Agreement, including progress on the ...

187. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Finance if his Department is planning the way in which a soft border would work if the EU requires same when the UK exits the customs union. (Question 4559/18 asked on 27 Mar 2018 - Brexit Issues)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 89 and 187 together.
In the context of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, the EU has made clear that in light of the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland, flexible and imaginative solutions will be required, including with the aim of avoiding a hard border, while simultaneously respecting the integrity of the Union legal order. This approach is reflected in the draft Withdrawal Agreement and its P...

374. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if she will report on the role her Department’s officials have in coordinating the response from businesses, particularly in the Border area, to prepare for Brexit. (Question 9656/18 asked on 27 Feb 2018 - Brexit Issues)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Enterprise Ireland (EI) and the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) are the primary providers of supports to assist enterprises within the indigenous sector that are facing challenges arising from Brexit. They are working vigorously to enable companies to consolidate market share within the UK and also to become more resilient by broadening their sales to other international markets. 
The six LEOs in the Border region are a...

1. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if his Department’s officials are involved in meetings to discuss sectoral plans or responses to Brexit. (Question 6904/18 asked on 21 Feb 2018 - Brexit Issues)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 3, inclusive, together.
The international, EU and Northern Ireland division of my Department covers work on all international, EU and British-Irish and Northern Ireland affairs within the Department, including issues relating to Brexit. This division is headed by a Second Secretary General, who also acts as the Irish sherpa for EU business, including Brexit. The total staffing resources of the division, which are kept under ongoing review, c...

72. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will report on the Copenhagen economic report; the role his Department officials will have in responding to same; and the plans they are working on and co-ordinating across Departments. (Question 8467/18 asked on 21 Feb 2018 - Brexit Issues)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): As Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade with special responsibility for Brexit, I have responsibility for coordinating the whole-of-Government response to Brexit, which is being advanced through the cross-Departmental coordination structures chaired by my Department which bring together the results of the detailed work which is being undertaken by individual Departments. 
This work draws on the analysis of...

152. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Finance his views on the warning from the European Commission to all European Union, EU, companies regarding the significant border friction and costs after the UK leaves the EU’s valued added tax area; and his plans to prepare Irish companies for same. (Question 8183/18 asked on 20 Feb 2018 - Brexit Issues)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The VAT implications for Irish traders of the UK’s departure from the EU will depend on the terms of any EU – UK Agreement concerning the relationship between the EU and the UK, including during any transition period. In the event that traders importing goods from the UK are required to make a customs declaration on importation then VAT will become payable at that time together with any other import duties. However, there is a facility to defer pa...

114. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the preparations her Department is making in the event of there being a hard Brexit, in particular following Michel Barnier’s comments on same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48895/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Brexit Issues)

Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Minister Coveney has responsibility for coordinating the whole-of-Government response to Brexit. In this capacity, he is working closely with his colleagues across Government to address the many challenges resulting from Brexit. This cooperation also involves the relevant State Agencies.
Work at Cabinet level is being prepared through cross-Departmental coordina...

236. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on the comments on 12 November 2017 by Michel Barnier regarding preparing for a hard Brexit. (Question 48892/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Brexit Issues)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 236, 237, 239 and 241 together.
As Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade with special responsibility for Brexit, I am working closely with colleagues across Government to address the many challenges resulting from Brexit. This cooperation also involves the relevant State Agencies.
Work at Cabinet level is being prepared through cross-Departmental coordination structures. All relevant Departments ar...

237. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the preparations his Department is making in the event of there being a hard Brexit. (Question 48893/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Brexit Issues)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 236, 237, 239 and 241 together.
As Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade with special responsibility for Brexit, I am working closely with colleagues across Government to address the many challenges resulting from Brexit. This cooperation also involves the relevant State Agencies.
Work at Cabinet level is being prepared through cross-Departmental coordination structures. All relevant Departments ar...

241. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the preparations his Department is making in the event of there being a hard Brexit and in particular following Michel Barnier’s comments on doing same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48894/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Brexit Issues)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 236, 237, 239 and 241 together.
As Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade with special responsibility for Brexit, I am working closely with colleagues across Government to address the many challenges resulting from Brexit. This cooperation also involves the relevant State Agencies.
Work at Cabinet level is being prepared through cross-Departmental coordination structures. All relevant Departments ar...

99. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his departmental officials are working on suggestions on the way to prevent a physical border on the island of Ireland. (Question 43831/17 asked on 16 Nov 2017 - Brexit Issues)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The Government’s priority of protecting the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts and the gains of the peace process, including avoiding a hard border on this Island, is clear. This priority is fully reflected in the European Commission Task Force’s Guiding Principles paper on Ireland/Northern Ireland of 7 September. It makes clear that it is the UK’s responsibility to propose workable solutions and take the policy decisions requi...

94. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he has met or spoken to any EU leader recently regarding Brexit . (Question 43813/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Brexit Issues)

The Taoiseach: Ongoing political engagement with our EU and international partners is crucial, especially as negotiations on Brexit proceed.
I continue to use every opportunity to ensure that other Member States and the EU institutions fully understand our particular concerns arising from Brexit, to enable the best possible outcome for this country. Of course, other Ministers - particularly Minister Coveney, who has special responsibility for Brexit - are also meeting with their EU counterparts...

185. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will report on the third plenary session of the All Island Civic Dialogue; and the actions that will be taken after same. (Question 42990/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Brexit Issues)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The third plenary session of the All Island Civic Dialogue took place on Thursday 28 September in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham and brought together almost 300 representatives across industry and civil society to discuss the challenges and opportunities posed by the decision of the UK to leave the European Union. This event focused on the impact of Brexit on enterprise and society on the island and the steps taken by organisations t...

112. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if the fact that the Government would not be bringing forward proposals on a border on the island of Ireland was mentioned when he met Prime Minister May in June 2017 or when he spoke to her in subsequent phone calls. (Question 39091/17 asked on 20 Sep 2017 - Brexit Issues)

Taoiseach (Deputy Leo Varadkar): As I have already reported to the House, in my June meeting with Prime Minister May, we reaffirmed our two Governments’ commitment to maintaining the Common Travel Area and associated reciprocal rights, to protecting the Peace Process and, in particular, to keeping the border invisible.
But we also recognise that this will be extremely challenging and, in the words of the EU negotiation guidelines, will require “flexible and imaginative” solutions. This Governme...

279. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has spoken to his EU counterparts regarding Brexit recently. (Question 39096/17 asked on 20 Sep 2017 - Brexit Issues)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 277 and 279 together.
Since I took up office in June, engagement on Brexit with EU partners has been a central element of my work. This approach, building on the work done by my predecessor, has yielded clear results in ensuring that Ireland’s unique issues and concerns have been fully understood by our EU27 partners and have been reflected in the EU’s negotiating position. As the negotiations enter...

280. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the way in which his Department’s officials are co-ordinating the latest round of Brexit meetings at EU level, particularly in relation to the preparation of a possible border after March 2019. (Question 39102/17 asked on 20 Sep 2017 - Brexit Issues)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The European Commission Taskforce, led by Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, represents the EU27 in the Article 50 negotiations with the UK. The Taskforce is acting on the basis of the mandate approved by the EU27 Member States at the General Affairs Council (Art. 50) on 22 May and in accordance with the EU’s overall approach to the negotiations as agreed in the European Council Guidelines of 29 April. The negotiations, which formal...

571. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to the announcement by the British government on accessing British waters as per the 1964 treaty, his views on the potential impact this will have on Ireland’s fishing industry; if he and his departmental officials have met to discuss the issue; if he has sought a meeting with his British counterpart; the actions he will be taking to protect Ireland’s fishing industry; the extra supports that will be made available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 32338/17 asked on 11 Jul 2017 - Brexit Issues)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The action by the UK in announcing its withdrawal from the 1964 London Fisheries Convention was not unexpected.  The UK Government had been intimating this decision for some time now.  It is nonetheless unwelcome and unhelpful as it suggests a signal of the UK intent to take a hard line on fisheries in the context of Brexit. 
There are no immediate direct impacts for the Irish fishing industry from this action as it will not t...

65. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach his understanding of an invisible border with Northern Ireland following Brexit. (Question 30896/17 asked on 04 Jul 2017 - Brexit Issues)

The Taoiseach: The Government’s position in relation to the border with Northern Ireland in the context of Brexit is very clear. Continued freedom of movement, absence of an economic border, and protection of the Good Friday Agreement are key objectives for the Irish Government.
We want to see the closest possible future relationship between the EU and the UK.
We want to maintain the reciprocity of civic rights that exist between Britain and Ireland as part of the Common Travel Area, the righ...

248. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he or his senior officials have discussed the possibility of increasing the number of diplomats employed across the EU to assist with planning for Brexit. (Question 27832/17 asked on 27 Jun 2017 - Brexit Issues)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I have had the opportunity to discuss Brexit and to discuss resourcing with my officials. I have indicated my desire to maintain an intensive programme of engagement with EU partners.
As you know additional capabilities and resources have been assigned across the Department to address issues arising from the complex process of the UK exit from the EU. Our approach has not been merely to recruit or assign additional staff, but rathe...

4. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on section E on Brexit in his Department’s statement of strategy, in particular the way in which stakeholder consultation and engagement on an all-island basis as appropriate is taking place outside the national fora that have been held in Kilmainham and Dublin Castle. (Question 24677/17 asked on 20 Jun 2017 - Brexit Issues)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 4 to 9, inclusive, together.
Sectoral consultations are a core feature of the Government’s engagement and analysis on the impact of Brexit. Following the first plenary session of the all-island civic dialogue in November, the Government launched a series of sectoral all-island civic dialogue events in order to deepen our sectoral analysis. Led by Minister, these sessions are an invaluable opportunity to engage directly with stakeholders most imp...

8. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach his Department’s role in exploring the possible transition relationship between Ireland and the UK to form a stopgap between EU membership and full Brexit and to assist with mitigating economic damage between the two important trading partners and to possibly provide a legal basis for trade to continue between the two countries and between the North and South of Ireland; and the work that has been done to date. (Question 25943/17 asked on 20 Jun 2017 - Brexit Issues)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 4 to 9, inclusive, together.
Sectoral consultations are a core feature of the Government’s engagement and analysis on the impact of Brexit. Following the first plenary session of the all-island civic dialogue in November, the Government launched a series of sectoral all-island civic dialogue events in order to deepen our sectoral analysis. Led by Minister, these sessions are an invaluable opportunity to engage directly with stakeholders most imp...

4. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach the number of staff in his Department and the positions they hold specifically dealing with implementing the Government’s approach to Ireland and the negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. (Question 24362/17 asked on 31 May 2017 - Brexit Issues)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 4 to 6, inclusive, together.
I have restructured my Department to ensure that Brexit is treated as a crucial cross-cutting issue by creating an amalgamated international, EU and Northern Ireland division under a second Secretary General who also acts as the Government’s Sherpa for EU business, including Brexit. The work of this division includes supporting the Cabinet committee on Brexit and the Cabinet committee on European affairs. There are 32...

242. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he or his officials have met with the IFA or exporters associations to discuss the serious concerns they have regarding Brexit. (Question 25946/17 asked on 31 May 2017 - Brexit Issues)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Close consultations in relation to the potential impact of the UK decision to leave the EU have been ongoing with all of the relevant stakeholders - including the IFA and other farming organisations as well as industry stakeholders - since early 2016, considerably in advance of the UK referendum which gave rise to the decision to leave the EU. 
I and my officials have consulted extensively with representative organisations, bu...

106. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Finance if he or his Department is assessing options on border control other than a hard border; and the measures which will be required between Northern Ireland and here, in view of the repeated statements from Prime Minister May regarding leaving the customs union and the response from the EU confirming that this will require a type of border. (Question 16716/17 asked on 17 May 2017 - Brexit Issues)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): The Government has published  a comprehensive document on ‘Ireland and the negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union’ on 2 May.
The Government’s position in relation to the Border with Northern Ireland in the context of Brexit is very clear - continued freedom of movement, absence of a hard border, and minimal impact on business and trade are key objectives.  Clearly in this regard th...