Monday 23 September 2019

Revenue insists it can accelerate recruitment preparations for 'doomsday' no-deal Brexit

Revenue chair Niall Cody
Revenue chair Niall Cody

Cormac McQuinn Political Correspondent

The Revenue has insisted that it can accelerate the hiring of customs officers in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Its chairman Niall Cody has said that while the current plan is for 270 extra customs officers to be in place by the time the UK leaves the European Union, his organisation could speed up the recruitment process.

He was asked about preparations for a “doomsday” scenario by Fianna Fáil TD Shane Cassells at the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in light of the chaos in Britain over the proposed Brexit withdrawal agreement.

Mr Cassells put it to Mr Cody that contingency planning showed that 600 extra customs officers would ultimately be needed.

Mr Cody said that current Brexit planning would see up to 270 additional customs officers in place by March 29, when Britain is due to leave the EU.

He said the plan is that the extra 600 staff would be in place by the end of the proposed Brexit transition period up to the start of 2021. 

He noted that more than 3,000 people had applied for the initial jobs on offer.

Mr Cody said that in the event of a no deal scenario the Revenue could speed up the recruitment process.

He also insisted that the Revenue has upgraded its Information Technology (IT) systems so it would be able to cope with “significant multiples” of the current customs entries it deals with.

Mr Cassells referred to today’s resignations by British ministers over the proposed Brexit withdrawal agreement saying: “Theresa May is going through ministers like Brian Cody goes through hurls on a training night in Kilkenny.”

He sought further reassurance that if Brexit spirals out of control that Revenue can react.

Mr Cassells said the speeding up of preparations will probably be required and asked if there will be enough trained officials by March 29 to “deal with a doomsday scenario and we’re not going to require a ‘Dad’s Army’”.

Mr Cody, whose brother is the Kilkenny hurling manager, said the Revenue is already implementing an EU code that allows for greater simplifications on trade.

He added: “I am satisfied Revenue will be in a position to support trade in April next year.”

Later Mr Cody also said: “I don’t want people to come away from here saying everything will be alright.

“If it happens there’ll be big challenges. There’ll be a lot of work involved in it but that’s what we’ll have to deal with.”

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