A range of post-Brexit supports for Irish businesses have been announced by the taoiseach (Irish prime minister).
Micheál Martin said Brexit has been and will continue to be bad for Ireland, Britain and the EU.
“Even with a [trade] agreement there will be substantial challenges for supply chains and trade flows and checks,” said Mr Martin.
Speaking in Dublin on Wednesday morning, the taoiseach said: “The protocol in Northern Ireland will apply.
“It is important that meaningful negotiations can only proceed on the basis of mutual trust.”
A €9,000 grant per employee hired to enable businesses to “build their capacity and manage any custom changes” has been made available.
Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar appealed to businesses to take action and prepare for Brexit.
“You need to be prepared for the new normal and you need to be ready now,” he added.
Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said Brexit is “for real this time” for traders and businesses.
Mr Coveney said “there is no extra time, there is no transition”.
“We need a big national effort in the final three months to ensure no one is left behind,” he said.
“If you move things to the UK, if you buy from the UK and if you move things through the UK the status quo will not apply from January 1.”
Mr Coveney added the government will continue to “do everything we can” to support Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, in his efforts to “get everything in place in time”.