North Cork Fine Gael Councillor John Paul O’Shea has welcomed the progression of the Government’s Brexit Omnibus Bill to the Dáil for three days of debate this week, following its publication last week.
The ‘Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Bill 2019’ is a landmark piece of legislation which focus on protecting Irish citizens, supporting small businesses and jobs, and securing ongoing access to essential services and product.
Cllr O’Shea said the legislation would mitigate Ireland against some of the worst effects of no deal, but echoed the words of his colleague, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney TD, who said he hopes the legislation would ‘sit on a shelf’.
Cllr O’Shea said: “Certainly it is hoped that the provisions in this legislation will never be needed. But it is necessary all the same and it demonstrates our Government’s positive handling of Brexit and the difficulties a potential no deal Brexit would bring.”
The Brexit Omnibus Bill is made up of 15 parts, and has involved the work of nine Ministers over a number of weeks. The Bill prioritises those issues that need to be addressed urgently through primary legislation at national level.
Some of the measures included in the Bill include: a provision for cross-border health services including reimbursement arrangements to be maintained, giving Enterprise Ireland extra powers to support businesses through investment, loans and grants, protection of the Single Electricity Market, the continuance of student grant arrangements between Ireland and the UK, and the continuance of benefit payments between both jurisdictions.
Cllr O’Shea added: “Our Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said the focus remains on the UK ratifying the Withdrawal Agreement. However, the Government has also been preparing for the possibility that the UK leaves the EU without an agreement, and the legislation that is being debated in the Dáil this week would allow Ireland to mitigate against the some of the worst effects of a potential no deal.”
The Bill will be debated in the Dáil this week and is expected to become law by the Brexit deadline of 29th March.