Brexit bulletin, 12 August 2019

Aug 12, 2019

This week, read about the Irish Government’s newly launched post-Brexit customs support initiative, Clear Customs which hopes to help businesses cope with the added customs administration that Brexit will bring. In other developments, read about the recent exchanges between Irish and UK political leaders on Brexit.

Irish Government launches new customs support initiative

In an effort to help businesses and intermediaries develop capacity to complete customs administration post-Brexit, the Irish government recently launched the Clear Customs initiative. The initiative has been developed to address the significant risk identified in Brexit contingency planning that there will not be enough customs agents to cope with the expected increase in customs declarations from 1.6 million to 20 million once the UK leaves the EU.

As a part of the initiative led by Skillnet, businesses are being offered two main supports:

  • An essential customs training programme delivered nationwide over six weeks providing skills necessary to make customs declarations
  • Customs Financial Support payment to assist with the costs of hiring or assigning new staff to customs roles. The payment can be up to €6,000 per employee that completes the training programme - up to a maximum of 10 employees.

Expressions of interest for the customs training programme and Customs Financial Support payment must be made via the Skillnet Ireland website before 20 September 2019.

Readers should note that businesses will need to meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • must have an EORI number from Revenue. Read our guidance on how to apply for an EORI number
  • must have a CRO number
  • must be registered with the Company Registration Office and incorporated in the Republic of Ireland at the time of application
  • are providing freight, haulage, logistics services to, from or through the UK, or
  • are providing customs intermediary services or
  • are currently directly engaged in the import/ export, or are facilitating the import/export, of goods to, from, or through the UK and which will require new or increased customs clearance capacity


Latest Brexit developments

With 31 October fast approaching, Irish political leaders have ramped up their engagement with UK political leaders. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was in Belfast last week to continue talks with Northern Ireland political figures, where he addressed the high probability of a no-deal Brexit and renegotiations with the EU on issues of citizen’s rights, financial settlements and a solution to the Irish border. He also said that people might be “weary of Brexit” and must take the view that the negotiations end on 31 October regardless of the outcome.

Additionally, Ireland’s Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe met his UK counterpart, Chancellor Sajid Javid, to review the current economic developments in both nations and to tackle their approach to Brexit. While the UK Chancellor remained committed to the 31 October deadline, Minister Donohoe reiterated the Irish Government’s position on the importance of the backstop element of the Withdrawal Agreement. He also added that a no-deal scenario will have a significant impact on Budget 2020 due in October.

In upcoming visits, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been extended an invitation from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to meet to discuss Brexit and Northern Ireland but the backstop is reportedly not on the agenda. 


Brexit preparedness resources

Customs workshops

Local Enterprise Offices are running customs workshops throughout the country from August to October to provide businesses with a better understanding of the potential impacts and customs procedures to be adopted when trading with a country outside of the EU.  These courses are open to all businesses and you can read the course outline here.  To see locations, dates and how to book, go to this link.

Irish Government Brexit Supports

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation have released a number of Brexit preparedness supports, including the Brexit preparedness checklist, the Brexit Loan Scheme and the Getting Business Brexit Ready guide. For the full range of supports for businesses, visit the Department’s website.

Read all our updates in our Brexit web centre and our page dedicated to no-deal Brexit planning.