Creed updates stakeholders on Brexit communications

Chairing the 11th meeting of the Brexit Stakeholders Consultative Committee, a range of communications on getting Brexit ready were outlined by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed.

Minister Creed said that today’s meeting provided him with an opportunity to reiterate the fact that his department has been focusing on the actions required to prepare for a potential disorderly Brexit, and to effectively communicate the position to stakeholders.

‘All scenarios’

The minister said: “While ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement is still the Government’s priority, we will continue our preparations for all scenarios, including a no-deal Brexit.

“This work is ongoing, and includes all Government departments and agencies.

“We are, in particular, increasing communications with our stakeholders and with the wider public, by setting out what we are currently doing, and more importantly, what steps need to be taken between now and March 29.

“The prospect of a no-deal Brexit presents enormous challenges for our agri-food and fisheries sectors, and we need to be as prepared as we can be to meet those challenges.”

Minister Creed gave details of the recently-updated department Brexit website, which reflects in particular the position for agri-food and fisheries operators who will be trading with and through the UK after March 29, and is also accessible through the central Government Brexit website.

He also announced the setting up of a Brexit Call Centre – available as of Monday (March 4) at: 076-1064443 – and a dedicated ‘Brexitcall’ email address – [email protected] – to allow enquiries to be dealt with.

In addition, the department will increase its communication activity on social media and the relevant line divisions will be sending focused trader notices to their respective stakeholders.

Committee presentations

Officials from both the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine gave detailed presentations on the current state of play in the negotiations.

Also discussed was the range of controls that will be required to be implemented on imports of live animals, plants, and products of animal and plant origin when the UK becomes a third country.

Concluding, the minister said: “No matter what kind of Brexit takes place, things are going to change.

“We will be doing all we can to minimise the impact and to inform stakeholders.

“I would in turn urge all operators in the sector to prepare themselves by examining their supply chains, by getting assistance from agencies such as Bord Bia and BIM and by engaging with the communications channels being provided by my department.”