Fianna Fáil TD for Brexit Stephen Donnelly says the Government may finally be recognising the importance of having a specific Minister responsible for dealing with Brexit related matters.

Deputy Donnelly made the comments after the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar appointed Simon Coveney as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade with a special focus on Brexit.

Deputy Donnelly said, “The decision to assign the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade with a special focus on Brexit is a positive development, but it comes late in the day. The Government response to Brexit has lacked urgency to date. Too much time has been wasted and key roles in State agencies created to deal with the fallout associated with Brexit remain unfilled.

“Fianna Fáil has long argued that the Government should appoint a dedicated Minister for Brexit. This remains our position as we believe it is the only way in which we can bring about a co-ordinated effort across all Government departments in response to the challenges posed by Brexit. The decision to assign a special focus on Brexit to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is a step in the right direction but it still doesn’t go far enough.

“Fine Gael Ministers, including Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney, have spent the last year insisting that there was no need to assign responsibility for Brexit to any specific Minister. This latest development clearly shows that they now recognise that this was the wrong position to take. Having spoken with Minister Coveney briefly in the chamber yesterday, we intend to meet next week to discuss Brexit further next week”, concluded Deputy Donnelly.