The impact of a ‘no deal’ Brexit will be worst felt on the border with the economy and security co-operation likely to be undermined.
These are just two of the gloomy forecasts for Derry and Donegal in a new contingency plan prepared by a Dublin Government now actively contemplating the UK crashing out in three months.
‘Getting Ireland Brexit Ready’ warns mitigation measures will be needed with a ‘hard Brexit’ now increasingly likely. The paper states that “given the proximity of the formal date for UK exit from the EU of March 29, 2019, the prospect of a no deal Brexit is very real”, and, therefore, Dublin needs to prepare for the UK becoming a third country.
The economy, especially on the border, is a key concern of course, with the authors acknowledging the communities and economies of Derry/Donegal will be worst affected by a ‘no deal’ shock.
In respect of Donegal businesses trading in Derry it states: “The economic impact is also likely to be greater in certain regions - especially the border region - and on smaller businesses that are more dependent on trade with Britain and NI.”
And, in relation to Derry firms and their markets in Inishowen: “For NI businesses and farmers, the prospect of operating outside the EU with no deal would be extremely serious. The Government would try to mitigate the effects to the extent possible, while recognising that this will be primarily a matter for the British Government and the NI authorities.”
It is not only economic concerns that are excercising senior cabinet ministers and officials in Dublin, however.
Security implications and the damage ‘no deal’ could wreak on cross-border co-operations against crime and violent extremism are also addressed.
“From the outset of this process, we have identified a number of areas in the justice area that are particularly important to ongoing cooperation between the UK and Ireland, and have been taking steps to mitigate the effect of a UK withdrawal from the EU as much as possible.
“The areas in question are particularly relevant to the peace process in NI. Cooperation in the area of law enforcement particularly vis-à-vis NI is at an all-time high and the Government is determined to maintain this,” the paper states.
The document reports how Dublin is now prioritising no deal planning and that a full Government meeting will be held to discuss this next Thursday, Janaury 3, 2019.
It affirms that any “necessary legislative measures required in a no deal scenario will be introduced in the Oireachtas in January 2019.”