Brexit Bulletin, 7 October 2019

Oct 07, 2019

This week read a summary of the UK’s new Brexit proposal to replace the Irish backstop. Also, the Department of Finance publishes their 2019-2024 macroeconomic forecasts ahead of Budget 2020 tomorrow.

UK releases new Brexit proposal: Ireland and EU react

Reported last week, the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has delivered an alternative Brexit proposal to the EU. In a letter to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, “A fair and reasonable compromise: UK proposals for a new protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland”, the UK Prime Minister explains his proposal to replace the Irish backstop with a complex system of customs, regulatory and border checks mainly impacting Northern Ireland.

In summary, the plan provides for the following;

  • Ireland and Northern Ireland to be in a new all-island regulatory free zone, with no regulatory checks between the two areas.
  • Northern Ireland to remain in the EU single market until the end of a proposed transition period but will leave the EU customs union alongside the rest of the UK.
  • Four years after the transition period, the Northern Irish Assembly will be free to choose whether to remain aligned to the EU or to UK rules.
  • Additionally, the Prime Minister has also committed to a “New Deal for Northern Ireland” development package, which focusses on economic growth and cross-border collaboration.

In response to the proposal, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has released a statement saying proposals do not fully meet the agreed objectives of the Irish backstop. The Taoiseach also reassured European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and European Council President Donald Tusk of Ireland’s commitment to protecting the EU single market and customs union, as well as protecting the Good Friday agreement and avoiding a hard border, last week.  On the EU side, while President Juncker has welcomed the progression in discussions from the UK, he also pointed out problematic areas in the plan, like complex customs rules, The proposal will be further discussed between the UK and EU in Brussels over the next few days.


Minister Humphreys urges businesses to utilise Brexit loan supports

With only a few days to go to the 31 October Brexit deadline, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys is urging businesses to prepare for a no-deal scenario by securing approval for Government supports such as the Brexit Loan Scheme and the SME focused Future Growth Loan Scheme. Both loan schemes are administered for the Government by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland and delivered through the banks. To read more on Government Brexit supports, visit


Department of Finance publishes 2019-2024 economic forecasts

Ahead of Budget 2020 tomorrow, the Department of Finance has published its macroeconomic forecasts, covering the period 2019-2024. Endorsed by the statutory body, Irish Fiscal Advisory Council, this is the first time that a national or international forecasting institution has published a full range of economic projections on outlook and risks, for a no-deal Brexit scenario. 


Brexit preparedness resources

Brexit Customs Level 1 and 2 – CPD course

Chartered Accountants Ireland, in association with the Irish Exporters Association, has launched a brand new continuous professional development (CPD) course - Brexit Customs Level 1 and 2 in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

This course provides participants with insights into how to manage their dealings with EU/International customs efficiently and explores areas such as goods classification, origin, valuation and transit. 

Interested parties can visit the CPD Brexit programmes page of our website to learn more and register for the upcoming course in Cork.

HMRC – Customs funding

The UK government have announced additional funding to support businesses with the costs of making customs declarations. Businesses based in, or with a branch in, the UK can apply for funding ahead of the UK leaving the EU. Grants can be used to support:

  • training costs for businesses who complete customs declarations, or who intend to in the future
  • funding for IT improvement, which is available to small and medium sized employers who are currently involved in trade as an intermediary

Applications can be made online, with the grant being offered within 30 days of applying. 

Irish Government Brexit Supports

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation have released several 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.