Minister of State for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne has said that Ireland will be “top of the list” to avail of the €5bn ‘Brexit Adjustment Reserve’ which will offer funds for the countries and sectors worst-hit by the effect of Britain leaving the EU.
The Brexit package is part of the €1.8trn package signed by the 27 member states of the European Union this morning to fund the next seven years of spending and inject funds into struggling economies to help them weather the devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Byrne told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that the package signalled the benefit for Ireland of being part of a strong Europe.
The Covid Recovery Fund will be of huge benefit to the economy which means assistance now that can be paid back over 30 years. The fund will ensure that all of Europe is working together, he said.
Mr Byrne pointed out that the European Budget meetings were held every seven years and this had been the first time the UK was “not at the table” which had changed the dynamic.
“What this has shown is that Europe can come together and the result is that everyone can gain from it.”
The Just Transition Fund will also be of benefit for Ireland, especially the Midlands. There was no doubt that the European approach would help, he added.
Mr Byrne said that the July Stimulus package will likely be discussed at the Cabinet meeting later today which was deferred when the Taoiseach was delayed in Brussels at the European budget meeting.
Discussions will be ongoing and will reflect what was included in the European Budget, he said.
Ireland faced the ‘double whammy’ of Brexit and Covid-19 which meant that plans had to be more immediate as the government did not want to be putting debt on people.
When asked about the publication of the ‘green list’ of countries to which travel will be allowed without quarantine, Mr Byrne said that the guidance was clear “don’t travel.”
Earlier today, the Taoiseach hailed the EU agreement on a €1.82trn budget and coronavirus recovery fund.
Micheál Martin said it is a strong deal which includes a substantial and significant package of measures.
The budget and recovery fund was finally agreed in the early hours of Tuesday after a marathon four-day summit in Brussels.
Agreement was struck over a EU budget for the next seven years and a €750bn coronavirus fund, made up of loans and grants for the countries hit hardest by the pandemic.