‘Irish companies need to be wide awake when it comes to Brexit’

The Irish cabinet was briefed yesterday, Tuesday, May 21, on the ongoing risk posed to Irish businesses in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney said the risk involved was “very real” – at this stage – and he subsequently pointed to the cross-government work in relation to matters, which he added, “will protect Ireland from the worst of the damage”.

Yesterday’s cabinet discussions coincided with UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposed new deal, which provided MPs with a chance to vote on a second referendum and is aimed at resolving the current impasse in Westminster.

In her speech May said that she has “listened carefully to those who have been arguing for a second referendum”.

This is her fourth attempt to push a deal through parliament in respect of the UK’s departure from the EU.

‘Forewarned is forearmed’

Meanwhile, following cabinet discussions – and in preparation for a no-deal scenario – the Tánaiste called on companies that trade with the UK to ensure they have their Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number.

This number, he added, is essential for any Irish company importing or exporting to non-EU countries.

Without the EORI number their goods will not be allowed to enter ports or airports.

Minister Coveney continued: “There is no grey space here; if a company trades with the UK after Brexit it will need its EORI number from Revenue.

“While we are doing everything we can to avoid a no-deal Brexit, businesses must be prepared for that very scenario.

“The reality is that the impasse at Westminster means the possibility is still there for the UK to leave without a deal at the end of October.”

Trading outside the EU

The Tánaiste went on to say that many companies have never had to register for an EORI number because of the fact that the vast majority of their trade is with the UK.

“However, Brexit means the UK will not be an EU country and the Government cannot go into individual businesses and complete this registration to keep them trading.

“Registering is free to do and Revenue has made the process simple; I would urge managers and business owners to get the registration out of the way as soon as possible,” the minister concluded.