Brexit seminars cost State over €500k

The Government has spent almost €300,000 on advertising six public information events on Brexit.

Brexit seminars cost State over €500k

The Government has spent almost €300,000 on advertising six public information events on Brexit.

The Getting Brexit Ready seminars, which took place in October and November of last year cost a total of €508,001.37 to hold.

Some €294,859.18 was spent on advertising and design while €22,964.30 went towards materials including signs and badges for the events where were aimed at businesses.

Tánaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said every effort was made to ensure that costs were kept to the minimum and that they achieved the best value for money when organising the events which were held in Cork, Galway, Monaghan, Dublin, Limerick, and Letterkenny.

Responding to a parliamentary question from Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher, Mr Coveney said the six events brought together over a dozen agencies and their parent Government Departments and had been attended by 2,500 people.

“The events also attracted significant domestic and international, in particular UK, media coverage which afforded an opportunity to highlight Ireland’s overall approach and specific concerns in relation to Brexit,” he said.

Mr Coveney said more than 4,000 companies have separately availed of the Enterprise Ireland Brexit scorecard facility as a first step in developing their Brexit plan. He said more than 1,000 SMEs have directly engaged with the InterTradeIreland Brexit advisory service so far in 2019; this is in addition to the 4,175 engagements in 2018.

The ERSI and Department of Finance are this week due to publish revised analysis of the impact of a hard Brexit. This report is expected to predict a worse outcome for Irish businesses and the economy than had initially been anticipated.

Meanwhile, the number of people from Britain and he North applying for Irish passports has soared this year.

A record 822,000 Irish passports were issued last year, with the number of numbers seeking Irish passports in Britain spiking by 22%. It is expected that these figures could be surpassed in 2019.

By February of this year, 28,958 people from Britain had already applied for Irish passports, this compares to 45,646 applications for the entirety of 2012.

Fianna Fáil foreign affairs spokesman Niall Collins said: “A similar picture emerges with regard to the applications from Northern Ireland — in 2012 41,124 people from Northern Ireland applied for an Irish passport, but by February 28 this year the figure has already reached 34,669. The numbers are truly staggering.

“It’s clear to me that Brexit has led to a significant increase in the number people from Great Britain and Northern Ireland seeking an Irish passport.”

Meanwhile, President Michael D Higgins last night signed the Brexit Omnibus Bill into law. The bill is designed to protect the country as much as possible if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal.

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