Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Brexit Stephen Donnelly says the Government’s Brexit negotiation document is underwhelming and fails to take account of some of the key challenges facing Ireland in the months ahead.

Deputy Donnelly made the comments last night as the Dáil debated the negotiation strategy following its publication last week.

Deputy Donnelly commented, “Brexit is widely acknowledged as the greatest threat facing Ireland. The ESRI have highlighted that without major intervention Brexit will involve significant and sustained reduction in economic activity, employment and Government revenue.

“The Department of Finance and Central Bank have warned that a hard Brexit, which we’re currently facing, could result in 40,000 job losses and a significant fall in trade with the UK. This is major problem facing Ireland considering nearly half of the exports from Irish-owned companies are destined for the UK market. A hard Brexit will undoubtedly lead to a significant economic shock right across Ireland and accordingly the Government must do everything in its power to prevent such a scenario from occurring.

“The unveiling of the Government’s negotiation strategy was an opportunity to lay out a national response to Brexit. However what we got instead was a document which contains no budgets, no targets and no timelines. It’s an underwhelming document which is bereft of political leadership and lacks ambition for how Ireland can and must respond to Brexit. The document contains no plan to protect businesses, small farmers and the agri-food sector.

“The Government record to date in dealing with the fallout associated with Brexit leaves a lot to be desired. The 2017 Action Plan for Jobs allocated a paltry additional €3m to Enterprise Ireland and the IDA to help stem the loss of jobs. Bord Bia received just €1.6m in additional funding to help the agri-food sector, despite the fact that hundreds of jobs have already been lost in the sector. It’s shocking that less than €5m has been allocated to three of the most important State agencies to assist them in dealing with the challenges posed by Brexit.

“Irish companies, farmers and food processors urgently need support to help them survive Brexit. They need assistant in expanding into new markets, create new products and services and to alter their supply chains. They also need access to credit and advice when it comes to complex issues such as currency hedging. Unfortunately the Government’s negotiation document does little to achieve any of this,” concluded Deputy Donnelly.