Cabinet set to approve hiring of up to 1,000 customs and veterinary officials in case of no-deal Brexit

The Cabinet is set to approve the hiring of up to 1,000 additional customs and veterinary officials to cope with the impact of Brexit.

Ministers were today briefed by Tanaiste Simon Coveney as to detailed contingency plans which now have to be actioned in case of a no-deal Brexit next March.

Foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney arriving at Derrynane House, Kerry, for a government cabinet meeting. PA Photo.

The Irish Examiner understands that ministers were presented with a range of possible scenarios and the necessary plans that are now needed to deal with such eventualities.

Among those plans are measures to significantly beef up the level of customs checks at Dublin Airport, Cork Airport, Shannon Airport and Knock Airport as well as the ports at Dublin and Rosslare.

The readiness at the ports is to deal with the impact of “East-West” trade between Ireland and Britain, but it is still the Government's position not to consider preparing for the return of a border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Ministers have been considering the large budgetary impact assessments on how Brexit, hard or soft, will impact on the State's finances.

After over a year of impact assessments, the Cabinet heard how many of the plans prepared for now need to be actioned and implemented.

Sources have made clear that whether there is a deal or not with Britain, customs arrangements will change and become more intense.

As part of that, ministers are set to approve the hiring of up to an additional contingent of customs and veterinary officials, with the possibility of that number reaching 1,000 in the case of a no deal.

There will be significant investment in both Dublin and Rosslare ports, as from a trade point of view, sources said “that is where the action is”.

The Tanaiste's department has scenario played what it calls high impact events which are quickly likely, high impact events which are unlikely, as well as a myriad of low impact events.

One of the matters discussed was the moving of the State's national oil reserve, which was reported on in recent days.

In relation to the North, ministers reaffirmed their desire to avoid a hard border, as they insist the border is not just a trade border but far more significant than that.

The Government is operating on the repeated promise from British Prime Minister Theresa May that there will be no return to a hard border.

The hiring of officials will cover all types of Brexit, the number will be dictated by what kind of Brexit it is, sources have said.

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