Fianna Fáil Foreign Affairs and Trade Spokesperson, Darragh O’Brien TD has said the Government’s response to the UK decision to leave the European Union is both careless and unsettling.
In information obtained by the Deputy through a Parliamentary Question, the Cabinet Committee on Brexit convened just three times in the four months since the referendum vote; September 8th, October 19th and November 7th.
“We are now four months on since Britain voted to leave the European Union and there is still great uncertainty as to the knock on effect associated with that decision. Farmers and expert business owners have been particularly hit by this uncertainty, and there are fears that Brexit could have a detrimental impact on the strong trading relationship between Ireland and Britain,” said Deputy O’Brien.
“We have been continually assured by the Government that this committee is tasked with overseeing the overall response yet its first meeting was held almost three months after Brexit.
“This is deeply alarming and demonstrates not just the Government’s lack of preparedness but also its lack of consideration to minimise any possible economic hardship.
“My party colleagues and I have consistently called on the Government to move fast to protect Ireland’s trading relationship with the UK in the aftermath of Britain’s decision to leave the EU.
“The British Government has indicated that it will start the formal process of leaving the EU early next year. Our Government needs to move fast to minimise the disruption caused once this process gets underway. Britain is our nearest neighbour and largest trading partner and it is important that this relationship is maintained post Brexit.
“The Government have an obligation to assure all stakeholders and interest groups here in Ireland, that a proactive response is underway and that their interests are a key priority in any agreed plan.
“Fianna Fáil believes that we need a Minister dedicated to Brexit with a sole objective of driving and co-ordinating Ireland’s response across all Government departments. It is apparent from the lack of cohesion among the committee that a Minister is now the only appropriate action that must be adopted.
“It is vital that the Government works with our European and UK colleagues to minimise any disruption to our economy. Above all, we must ensure that all measures are undertaken to maintain our strong trading relationship with Britain,” concluded O’Brien.