Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Seán Crowe TD, has criticised the Government’s failure in Budget 2017 to allocate extra resources to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFA) to deal with Brexit.

Crowe welcomed the establishment of a Brexit team within the DFA, but the decision to not allocate extra resources to this team highlighted the Government’s lack of urgency on this issue.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“Brexit will have a hugely negative impact on the social and economic development of Ireland. We also know that the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, intends to trigger Article 50 sometime in March next year, so the clock is ticking.

“Sadly we have seen no concrete suggestions, proposals, ideas or demands put forward by the Irish Government in relation to the post-Brexit scenario. Instead, they have entirely mishandled the Brexit challenge, ever since the Taoiseach’s ham-fisted approach to an all-Ireland forum. British Tories are currently in the driving seat regarding the impact of Brexit on the island of Ireland, North and South.

“The announcement that a Brexit team is to be established within the DFA is welcome, but without any extra resources it doesn’t augur well for any future Irish Government response to huge challenges we are facing into. Despite their public utterances, this reflects a lack of urgency when it comes to the negative impact that it will have on the Irish Peace Process, human rights provisions, and legacy issues still outstanding from the conflict.

“It shows that the Government is ignoring the seriousness that Brexit will have for the all-Ireland economy, the imposition of a ‘hard’ British imposed border on the island, the continued reliance by our exporters on the British market, and of course the daily impact it will have on the life of tens of thousands of Irish citizens.

“The Irish Government should be on an urgent and passionate diplomatic mission to build international support to ensure that the democratic vote of the majority of people in the North is respected and upheld.

“The failure to allocate additional resources to one of the lead Departments dealing with the crisis is further proof that the Government is sleepwalking into this Brexit process and is failing to urgently stand up in the best interest of all of us who live on this island.”