The Government remains firmly of the view that the best way to ensure an orderly UK withdrawal – in a way that addresses the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland – is to ratify the withdrawal agreement. It still offers the best path to an orderly Brexit.

These were the sentiments expressed by Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney, in written answers to the Dáil on September 6 last.

The minister was responding to a question put to him by Fine Gael’s deputy Bernard Durkan in which he asked the Tánaiste about the extent to which he remained satisfied that all possible actions have been taken by his department in anticipation of a UK crash-out from the EU.

Coveney pointed out that it was the Government’s assessment that there is a significant risk of a no-deal Brexit on October 31 and therefore “work on no-deal Brexit preparations has the highest priority across Government”.

To be clear, a no-deal Brexit will have profound implications for Ireland on all levels.

He continued: “These include macroeconomic, trade and sectoral challenges – both immediately and in the longer term.

“It will also pose particular risks for the Good Friday Agreement; for the all-island economy; and for Northern Ireland’s economy, political stability and community relations.”

‘A plan of action’

The minister went on to say that as part of Ireland’s preparations for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU the Brexit Contingency Action Plan update was published on July 9 and reflected “the extensive work” that has taken place at EU level and on a whole-of-Government basis.

The action plan sets out the next steps to be taken by Government departments and state agencies, businesses and individuals, between now and October 31.

He added: “It puts particular emphasis on the need for increased preparedness measures by exposed businesses in particular.

“It is only by Government, business and citizens working together nationally, and with our EU partners that we can aim to mitigate as far as possible the impacts of a no-deal Brexit, and ensure that we are as prepared as we can be for the changes it will bring.”