Deputy Smyth said, “The next few days will be crucial for this island. If the withdrawal agreement is approved this weekend, it then has to pass through the UK Houses of Parliament. I feel nothing should be ruled out by Government at this delicate stage and that all scenarios should be planned for.
“Fianna Fáil welcomes the draft withdrawal agreement reached between EU & UK negotiators. The reality is that there is no such thing as a good Brexit deal but if this agreement is ratified it represents a positive outcome for the island of Ireland in that it contains the necessary protections to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, upholds the Good Friday Agreement and the continuance of North-South Cooperation.
Deputy Smyth continued, “I am very concerned about Ireland’s level of preparedness for a post-Brexit scenario, especially in the border region.
“Only last month the Finance Minister confirmed that the government only plans to have 200 additional customs officials in place by the end of March next year. That’s one third of the 600 recommended by Revenue.
“This is a very worrying development and essentially means that Revenue will be significantly under resourced even in a benign transition period. If a no-deal scenario transpires, our lack of preparedness will be brutally exposed.
“We are at a delicate stage in the process but one thing is for sure, regardless of what deal transpires, Brexit will change this country and we need to be prepared for all scenarios”, Deputy Smyth concluded.