LONDON — The Irish government will spend more than €1 billion preparing the country for “the worst” effects of a no-deal Brexit.
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe made the announcement as he unveiled his 2020 budget this afternoon in Dublin.
“This is a budget that has been developed in the shadow of Brexit,” he told parliament. “And the context for Brexit has now shifted to no-deal as our central assumption.”
The biggest chunk of the funds — €650 million — will go toward supporting the agriculture, enterprise and tourism sectors. The money will be released in waves and targeted at the regions that will be hardest hit by a no-deal U.K. departure from the EU.
Another €355 million will be budgeted for general preparations for Brexit, including investment in ports and airports to ensure they are prepared for any cliff-edge disruption.
Ireland is also seeking extra cash from Brussels to support its agriculture sector, among other concerns.
“Brexit remains the No. 1 threat to the Irish economy, jobs and livelihoods,” Foreign Minister Simon Coveney declared in a statement. “Whilst the problem is not of our making, the government must continue to prepare for both a deal and a no-deal outcome.”
He added: “Budget 2020 protects Ireland from the worst of no deal and builds on the hundreds of millions that have gone into Brexit contingency in budget 2019 and budget 2018.”
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