Ireland will need to pass 45 emergency laws ahead of Brexit Day if U.K. MPs fail to back Theresa Mays Withdrawal Agreement next month, according to the governments contingency plans.
In its 131-page “Getting Ireland Brexit Ready” report published late Wednesday, the Irish government says the countrys domestic legislative program will require significant legal changes before March 29, 2019 in areas such as agriculture, the single electricity market, housing, health care and cross-border trade, among others.
Speaking to media in Dublin Wednesday night, Irelands Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney said the report was worrying for the trading relationship between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
Dublins “contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit make for sobering and stark reading,” Coveney said. “The report would require an immediate focus on crisis management and possible temporary solutions.”
The contingency plan notes that as England is the land bridge between Ireland and the European Continent, severe traffic delays in the aftermath of a no-deal Brexit are likely on the Dover-Calais shipping route, and adds that Irelands transport department is working with companies to identify alternatives.
The paper says the governments main focus is to prevent the emergence of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
Extra land will be needed at Dublin and Rosslare ports and at airports to deal with the “significant increase” in checks that will be needed if the U.K. crashes out of the EU, according to the report.
The additional facilities required at Dublin port will include 33 inspection bays for trucks coming off ships, 270 parking spaces to prevent logjams of trucks awaiting inspection, a dedicated border control post for the movement of live animals and new office space. Similar facilities will be required at Rosslare port in the southeast of the country, which is a major passenger and freight route to northern France.
Extra inspection rooms and a border control post for animals will also have to be constructed at Dublin airport.
Legislation is currently being prepared to address the issue of medicine supply and cross-border medical services, according to the report.
Vehicles cross the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland | Paul Faith/AFP via Getty Images
The paper says the governments main focus is to prevent the emergence of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, though it doesnt specify how that will be prevented if Westminster rejects the U.K.-EU Withdrawal Agreement.
The Republic of Ireland has an open land border with Northern Ireland, which is in the U.K. If the U.K. leaves the EU without a Brexit deal, the dividing line separating the two jurisdictions will become the frontier between the two.
Coveney said the plan is an “evolving document” and will be subject to change as talks continue between London, Brussels and Dublin.
The Irish Cabinet will meet on January 3 to discuss further contingency planning.