Ireland‘s 2020 budget includes a 1.2-billion-euro relief fund to cushion the economic blow of Britain leaving the European Union without a negotiated agreement, finance minister Paschal Donohoe said Tuesday.
“This is a budget that has been developed in the shadow of Brexit“, Donohoe told parliament. “The context for Brexit has now shifted to no-deal as our central assumption.
“I am today announcing a package of over euros 1.2 billion ($1.3 billion), excluding EU funding, to respond to Brexit“, Donohoe said.
Donohoe said the hard Brexit fallout fund would include 200 million euros ($220 million) available for port and airport infrastructure and staffing next year.
But he said “borrowed money” would also be used to intervene in a no-deal, with 650 million euros available to agriculture, enterprise and tourism sectors as well as “the most affected citizens and regions“.
Some 220 million euros would be deployed immediately in the event of a no-deal, if Britain fails to secure an exit deal with the EU trading bloc by 31 October.
But, he said: “If we do not need it, we will not borrow it. If a no-deal does not happen, it will not be borrowed for other purposes.“
Donohoe said support for Ireland’s fishing fleet, as well as its already faltering beef sector would be the government’s “first priority”.
In September Ireland’s central bank warned one in three farms will be at risk in a no-deal, which could see trade barriers erected and stiff tariffs imposed on meat.
With Prime Minister Leo Varadkar’s Fine Gael party engaged in a pact with main opposition party Fianna Fail, it is expected that the budget will pass.