Significant disruption to the Dáil is likely to facilitate the passage of legislation to prepare for a ‘no-deal Brexit’ between now and March 29, the Cabinet will be told tomorrow.
Tánaiste Simon Coveney is to bring a memo outlining progress on the Government’s preparations which have been prioritised given the withdrawal agreement between the EU and the UK looks set to be rejected by the House of Commons.
Since the Government decision on December 11 last, preparations for a ‘no deal’ Brexit have been intensifying across all government departments and agencies.
This is being co-ordinated through regular meetings of secretaries general, chaired by the secretary-general to the Government, supported by a senior officials’ group chaired jointly by the Department of the Taoiseach and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The cabinet will tomorrow be updated on all of this work as well as the political situation in Westminster and the key junctures of the weeks ahead. The cabinet will also discuss the Dáil schedule and work underway on the necessary pieces of no deal legislation.
A spokesman for Mr Coveney said: “On December 11 the Cabinet decided to prioritise planning for a no deal Brexit, in addition to the central case scenario. Contingency planning has been ongoing for 18 months with some measures, like recruitment, underway since the July cabinet meeting in Kerry.”
Many measures for a no deal Brexit build on the work already undertaken for a soft Brexit or what is called by Government the central case.
"The difference, in the latter scenario, is that we would need positions filled more quickly and will accelerate recruitment accordingly,” the spokesman said.
On December 19, and in line with the European Commission, the Government published a no deal contingency document detailing some of the work undertaken. It also committed to publishing further updates and mitigating measures, complementing Commission communications, in the weeks and months ahead.
The Cabinet will also hear from Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan about a Brexit strategy for the legal services. Mr Flanagan will also seek approval from his cabinet colleagues to fill vacancies on the Policing Authority.
Energy Minister Richard Bruton is to detail plans for government departments about seeking to reduce single-use plastics in the coming months.
Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty will update Cabinet about plans to extend the remit of Mabs as a dedicated mortgage arrears service.
She will also seek approval to publish the annual report of Abhaile, the State scheme for older homeowners to reconfigure their family-sized homes, allowing them to create a new rental unit within the house.