With 10 weeks to go to the Brexit deadline on October 31, the government is reminding businesses of the need to prepare for Brexit and, in particular, the government has highlighted nine steps that all businesses can take now to help prepare for the UK’s departure from the EU.

Government is directly appealing to a number of sectors of concern. The government contingency planning has indicated that the following sectors have low levels of Brexit preparedness:
1.) Smaller businesses who may not realise they are trading with the UK.
2.) Construction businesses.
3.) Manufacturing companies.
4.) Agrifood businesses, particularly those in food production.
5.) Retail particularly independent shops, and hardware stores who source products from or through the UK.
6.) Hauliers.

Businesses and consumers who are concerned about Brexit and what it may mean for them are encouraged to visit www.gov.ie/brexit where there is a range of practical information on how to get prepared.

Nine steps to take:

1.) Understand the new rules for UK importing and exporting
2.) Review your supply chain and UK market strategy
3.) Be aware of possible changes to transport and logistics
4.) Review all your certification, regulation and licencing
5.) Review your contracts and data management
6.) Ensure you are maximising government Brexit programmes and supports
7.) Manage your cash flow, currency and make sure your banking is in order
8.) Protect and inform your staff
9.) Know more about the impact to your sector

Recent government moves include:

  • Revenue is issuing its second round of direct engagement to businesses identified as being potentially at risk from Brexit. Further to the 84,000 letters issued earlier this year, this round involves another direct communication via post identifying the company’s potential financial exposure to the UK market and the steps they need to take, further supported by direct calls to businesses to follow up on the letter with any queries they may have. In this phase, nearly 27,000 letters have issued and 10,000 businesses have been spoken with on the phone by a Revenue agent.
  • The Clear Customs initiative is helping Irish businesses trading with or through the UK in preparing for new customs formalities arising from Brexit. Developed by Skillnet on behalf of the government, Clear Customs offers eligible customs agents, customs intermediaries and affected businesses a free training programme to build capacity in the customs sector, as well as a potential €6,000 grant to help build in-house capacity.
  • The Beef Exceptional Aid Measure recently opened for applications and will provide financial aid to Irish beef farmers facing difficult circumstances as a result of market volatility and uncertainty arising out of Brexit.

Original government moves include:

  • Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Act 2019 – the ‘Brexit Omnibus Act’, signed into law by the president on March 17, focuses on protecting Irish citizens, assisting businesses and jobs, and securing ongoing access to essential services and products. The various parts of this legislation, made up of 15 parts relating to matters within the remits of nine ministers, are ready to be commenced as needed in the event of a no deal Brexit.
  • Infrastructure, staffing and ICT systems at our ports and airports - sufficient infrastructure was put in place to manage the necessary checks and controls on East-West trade with the UK outside the EU.
  • Work at Dublin Port involved nine projects across eight sites to deliver 13 new inspection bays, documentary and identity check facilities, office facilities and parking for up to 128 heavy goods vehicles (HGVs).
  • A total of 400 additional Revenue staff recruited and trained for customs facilitation and checks; nearly 190 Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) staff trained and in place to conduct import controls; 59 additional Health Service Executive (HSE) staff trained and in place.
  • EU contingency measures – Ireland worked with our EU partners to agree a range of temporary contingency measures in key areas at the EU level, including maintaining basic air connectivity and road haulage access between the EU and the UK in the event of a no deal Brexit.
  • Business supports - a wide range of support programmes for enterprise and the agrifood sector have been developed and put in place, including the €300 million Brexit Loan Scheme and €300 million Future Growth Loan Scheme, Enterprise Ireland’s Brexit Scorecard, Bord Bia’s Brexit Barometer and InterTradeIreland’s Brexit Vouchers.
  • Specialised training for a number of areas including market diversification and customs were also rolled out across the country.
  • Extradition arrangements - workable alternative extradition arrangements under the 1957 Council of Europe Convention on Extradition were put in place for the event of a no deal Brexit, which would see the UK immediately fall outside the European Arrest Warrant process.
  • Communications and stakeholder engagement – this has included more than 100 Brexit information seminars and events since September 2018; a nationwide media information campaign and 750,000 leaflets distributed nationwide through 5,000 public outlets; 18 meetings of the Brexit Stakeholders Forum chaired by the Tánaiste; and five meetings of the All-Island Civic Dialogue.

Check out the government's dedicated website for all Brexit information: www.gov.ie/brexit