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Tánaiste Coveney and Ministers McEntee and Cannon announce Budget 2020 measures for the DFAT

Tánaiste Coveney and Ministers McEntee and Cannon announce Budget 2020 measures

For the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade


Budget 2020 is about intensifying Ireland’s preparations for Brexit at home and abroad.  


From the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s perspective, we are working with our EU partners and internationally to ensure that Ireland’s interests are understood and protected. 


With this budget, the Government also protects our highly regarded and effective international development programme, which remains a positive expression of Ireland’s values and influence in the world. 


This Government is committed to doubling Ireland’s Global footprint by 2025 to support Irish businesses seeking to develop new markets and increase Ireland’s engagement globally. 


It is also all about ensuring that we continue to provide essential services such as passports and support to Irish citizens whatever the Brexit scenario. 




The Government has been actively preparing for Brexit since before the Referendum in 2016 seeking, at all times, to protect citizens and support the economy, enterprise and jobs in all scenarios.  The Government is making more than €1 billion available in Budget 2020 to be spent in the event of a No Deal Brexit.


  • €355m is being spent on on-going Brexit Preparedness, Compliance and Activation Supports. Of this, €185m is to ensure compliance conditions are met and trade disruption is minimised at ports and airports, including staffing and support services, while €170m is to ensure continuation of existing Brexit support measures in place.
  • €650m is to support Agriculture, Enterprise and Tourism sectors and to assist most affected workers and regions.  Of this €650m, €220m to be immediately deployed in the event of a No Deal Brexit with €110m for Agriculture supports and €110m for enterprise supports.
  • €40m will be available to support Tourism targeting worst affected regions and new marketing initiatives, plus additional immediate funding of €7m in 2019.


In addition to the key ongoing role of the Department of Foreign Affairs in co-ordinating Brexit preparedness across Government, the new departmental measures in Budget 2020 are;


Official Development Assistance


  • Ireland’s international development programme is an integral part of our foreign policy and an important statement of our global citizenship. Ireland is well recognised for our commitment to reducing poverty and vulnerability, for our focus on least developed countries and for reaching those furthest behind first. 
  • For 2020, the Government has allocated almost €838 million for Official Development Assistance (ODA) -  an increase of just under €21 million on the 2019 budget allocation.  €551 million will be managed by my Department, with the remaining accounted for through Ireland’s share of the EU development cooperation instruments, and ODA eligible contributions from other Government Departments.
  • This is the sixth consecutive year allocations to ODA have increased. Funding levels are now approaching pre financial crisis levels.


Expanding our global footprint

  • In June 2018 the Government launched Global Ireland, Ireland’s Global Footprint to 2025, an ambitious plan which aims to double the scope and impact of Ireland’s international presence by 2025.
  • We will open three diplomatic and trade missions in 2020 in Kyiv, Manila and Rabat, to support Irish businesses seeking to develop new markets and increase Ireland’s engagement globally. 
  • Ireland’s new missions are located in countries that present significant trading opportunities for Irish business. We have made good progress already with the opening of new Embassies in Monrovia, Wellington, Bogotá, Santiago de Chile, and Amman and new Consulates General in Vancouver, Mumbai, Cardiff, Los Angeles and Frankfurt.




  • There will be an additional €2m for the further development of the Passport Service in 2020
    • The Passport Service is a key responder to Brexit-related demands. It has issued almost 850,000 passports and passport cards between January and the end of September 2019, representing an increase of over 15% over the same period in 2018. It is expected that the level of passport demand will continue to grow in 2020.
    • The implementation of the online channel for adult and child renewals has transformed the end-to-end passport application process to a digital self-service channel, through to application processing and customer service.
    • In 2019 so far, 62% of all eligible renewals applications were processed online. This service has already delivered significant savings in terms of efficiencies and improved customer service. The average turnaround times have significantly improved.
    • The Passport Service has taken key measures to respond to the significant level of increase, including improving the customer service response experience for applicants. In 2019 a new telephone and customer services support hub was established. To date, it has handled over quarter of a million contacts in 2019.


Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney TD has welcomed Budget 2020’s focus saying:


Brexit remains the number one threat to the Irish economy, jobs and livelihoods. Whilst the problem is not of our making, the government must continue to prepare for both a deal and a no deal outcome. Budget 2020 puts Ireland on a careful, balanced and responsible course for the year ahead and builds on the investments that have gone into Brexit contingency in Budget 2018 and Budget 2019.


At the same time, we have to look outwards and under Global Ireland, the Government is committed to doubling our global footprint by 2025.  To date we have opened nine new missions and we will open three more Embassies in 2020 to support Irish businesses seeking to develop new markets and increase Ireland’s engagement globally.”


The Minister of State for European Affairs, Helen McEntee TD said: 


“While we must do everything to mitigate the potential impacts of Brexit, we must not lose sight of importance of our membership of the EU.  We need to continue to work with Member States, with organizations like EMI and the IIEA and with all our citizens to reinforce our place at the heart of Europe. Budget 2020 will keep us focussed on doing just that.”


The Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development Ciaran Cannon TD said:


 “Our work in international development, including with EU partners, is a positive expression of Ireland’s values and influence.  With Budget 2020, the Government restates our commitment to our highly regarded and effective international development programme.”




9 October 2019


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