Countdown to Brexit: 99 days - Ireland publishes its no-deal Brexit plan

The Irish Government is now prioritising efforts towards preparing the country for a “no-deal” Brexit according to its just published “contingency plan”.

The 130 page document outlines planning for 19 sectors should the UK crash out of the EU in 99 days’ time.  It includes a move to purchase land at Dublin and Rosslare ports to deal with congestion caused by new customs border checks.  

Simon Coveney,  Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister (known as the “Tánaiste”) - who combines this role with that of Foreign Minister - said that the plan was: "stark" but "comprehensive".

The UK leaving the EU without a deal will cause significant stress to the Irish economy, according to Coveney adding that planning for a no-deal Brexit had been taking place for well over a year – but the Irish Government's was now accelerating preparations.

Coveney said this was a working document that would be updated as weeks pass.

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Summary of the Document

The document warns that Ireland's economy could be the "most adversely affected" out of all EU member states - and that the country's security would also be "seriously impacted".

The Irish Government is "now prioritising no-deal planning" - and that any necessary no-deal legislation will be brought before the Dáil (Irish parliament) in January.

Key planning guidelines include:

  • A move to purchase extra land at ports in Dublin and Rosslare in County Wexford to handle congestion caused by new custom checks – in addition to measures to mitigate extra pressures on Dublin Airport;

  • Additional staff for departments including the Irish Revenue and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine;

  • A commitment to maintaining law enforcement co-operation between the Republic and Northern Ireland

  • A focus on ensuring uninterrupted air travel between the UK and the EU in the event of a no-deal scenario

The document also acknowledges concerns among sectors in Northern Ireland - such as farming and business - in the event of a no-deal Brexit.  It indicates that the Irish government will "try to mitigate the effects to the extent possible, while recognising that this will be primarily a matter for the British government and the Northern Ireland authorities".

Communicating the Document

Speaking to reporters in Dublin, the tánaiste said Ireland was not engaged in contingency plans for the return of a hard border - but that avoiding this would become "very difficult" in the event of a no-deal scenario.

Mr Coveney also said he was "very confident" that there would be no need to stockpile drugs in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

On the impact of a no-deal scenario on the UK, the tánaiste said it would take "a long time" to put in place a trading arrangement with the EU and this would be "very uncomfortable" (see Twitter post).

Key Contents for Ireland - business, industry, commerce and finance



  • Preparing our Ports and Airports for a no deal Brexit

  • Staffing

  • Legislation

  • Financial Services

  • EU Funding Programmes

  • Common Travel Area

  • Justice and Security

  • Connectivity

  • Aviation

  • Landbridge

  • Road Haulage

  • Trade

  • Government Supports for Business

  • Retail

  • Tourism

  • Agri-Food and Fisheries

  • Medicines

  • Data

  • EU Climate Policy and Energy

The plan can be downloaded in full here.

John ShuttleworthComment