News & Events

Minister Humphreys and Minister Donohoe launch the first in a series of Customs Workshops for businesses

  • Workshops being rolled out for the Government by the Local Enterprise Offices right across the country as part of Brexit preparations
  • Minister Humphreys also launches two new Regional Enterprise Plans for the border region


With Brexit just 32 days away, Minister Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, together with Minister Paschal Donohoe TD, Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, today launched the first in a series of Customs Training Workshops, which are being delivered for the Government by the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) across the country. 

The fully booked workshop, taking place in Cootehill, Co. Cavan, was attended by 25 business people from around the region who may be directly affected by Brexit.  This included manufacturing, food, logistics and service companies, all of whom will need to deal with customs on import and export of goods or materials after the 29th March if the UK leaves the Customs Union and Single Market. The nationwide workshops are open to all businesses from all sectors and events will take place in every region.

Minister Humphreys also launched two new Regional Enterprise Plans for the border region today to strengthen enterprise development, one for the North East and another for the North West.

Launching the first customs workshop in Cootehill, Minister Humphreys, TD, said; “These workshops are another support that the Government has put in place to help businesses as they deal with the intricacies of Brexit. While there is still a lot of uncertainty around what will happen next month, the skills and mentoring provided by these workshops will stand to firms long into the future. As a small island, importing and exporting are key for our companies, and we will ensure that they have the supports they need to continue doing this from the end of March and beyond.”

Commenting on the new Regional Enterprise Plans for the North East and North West, she continued: “The new Regional Enterprise Plans for the North East and North West are rooted in collaboration. They have brought together the ideas of the various stakeholders including businesses, Local Authorities, the IDA, Enterprise Ireland, the LEOs, the Regional Skills Fora and others. The Plans focus on building on the strengths of each region and also identifying weaknesses and addressing them, which is particularly relevant with Brexit on the horizon.”

Minister Donohoe said: “The funding for these workshops came out of an additional €5m that Government allocated to the Local Enterprise Offices in Budget 2019. As we continue to ramp up our Brexit preparations, the LEOs are very well-placed to give additional support to our micro-enterprises as they prepare for the challenging period ahead. They do truly important work at the coalface all over the country.”

Oisin Geoghegan, Chair of the network of Local Enterprise Offices, said; “The Local Enterprise Offices have been working closely with their 7,000 client companies ever since Brexit was announced in 2016.  Each one of our companies has been contacted directly in relation to Brexit supports and in 2018 we had over 4,000 attendees at Local Enterprise Office Brexit information events.  These Customs Training Workshops provide practical information to these businesses to ensure when the 29th March comes, there are no shocks for them.  We would say that any small business that has yet to plan for Brexit, it is not too late and the door of your Local Enterprise Office is open to help you plan for this year and beyond.”    

The Customs Training Workshops are just one strand of the supports that the Local Enterprise Offices have supplied to their clients on behalf of Government across the country since Brexit was announced in 2016.  This includes scorecards to evaluate exposure, trading online financial supports, Brexit loans, grants to support exporting and LEAN programmes to increase company performance, competitiveness and resilience.

The next Customs Training Workshop will take place on the 8th March in Cork, followed by events in Dublin on the 13th March and Portlaoise on the 21st March.  The workshops have been designed by customs experts from BDO.  The ‘Prepare your Business for Customs’ workshops will be rolled out to every region across the country in 2019, accessible to any business that will be dealing with customs for the first time after Brexit.

Minister Humphreys also highlighted the upcoming Local Enterprise Week from the 4th – 8th March organised by the Local Enterprise Offices nationwide as a significant opportunity for small businesses to assess their Brexit options.  With over 350 events taking place across the country, many focused on dealing with Brexit, Local Enterprise Week will be essential for many small companies and entrepreneurs, particularly this year.

For more information on what Brexit supports are available, as well as Local Enterprise Week, log on to or contact your Local Enterprise Office directly.  


North-West Regional Enterprise Plan to 2020

North-East Regional Enterprise Plan to 2020


The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) plays a key role in implementing the Government’s policies of stimulating the productive capacity of the economy and creating an environment which supports job creation and maintenance. The Department also has a remit to promote fair competition in the marketplace, protect consumers and safeguard workers.

For more information please contact or ph: (01) 6312200