The Government has said it plans to purchase land at Dublin Port and Rosslare in order to prevent congestion caused by any new custom checks, in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The Government's contingency plan for a no-deal Brexit was published this evening.

The document identifies 19 sectors in which action will be taken should the UK leave the European Union next March without a comprehensive agreement.

Under a chapter entitled 'Next Steps', the Government said it will prioritise "no-deal planning" at its next Cabinet meeting on 3 January.

It will also seek to introduce in the following weeks "necessary legislative measures" which would be required in a no deal scenario.

In a blunt introduction, the paper predicts "a no deal Brexit would potentially involve severe macroeconomic, trade and sectoral impacts [for Ireland]".

It continues: "Grappling with the enormous range of impacts both in the immediate short term and in the longer term will involve difficult and significant choices of a practical, strategic and political nature."

Read: Govt's contingency plan in event of a no-deal Brexit

Tánaiste Simon Coveney said that the Government's document on contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit is comprehensive.

The document, which also details plans for an orderly Brexit, runs to over a hundred pages.

He said there has been a lot of planning taking place for well over a year to mitigate against the damage of a no-deal Brexit.

The UK leaving the EU without a deal is going to cause significant stress to this country and to many sectors in the economy, he said.

This would also pose a significant challenge to the Government to prepare for such a scenario, the Tánaiste warned.

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Mr Coveney said planning for a no-deal Brexit had now accelerated across several areas including: agriculture, shipping, aviation fishing, data, security and the movement of people.

The Tánaiste said this was a working document that would change as the weeks pass.

He said if a no deal Brexit becomes more likely over the next 100 days this document will have to be updated, because there were some areas that do not have answers while some have clear plans.

Speaking to reporters at Government Buildings, Mr Coveney said Ireland was not engaged in contingency plans for the return of a hard border.

He added, however, that avoiding a hard border would become "very difficult" in the event of a no-deal scenario.

The Tánaiste said the Government had not held "detailed discussions" on the return of the border with the European Commission.

Asked whether drugs would need to be stock-piled, Mr Coveney said he was "very confident" this could be avoided.

Asked about the impact of a no-deal scenario on the UK, the Tánaiste said it would take "a long time" to put in place a trading arrangement with the EU and this would be "very uncomfortable".

He described the Government paper as "stark".

Following publication of the report, Fianna Fáil’s Brexit spokesperson said that she is "deeply concerned" for the agriculture sector.

Lisa Chambers said "there appears to be little by way of solutions in the short term as market diversification is a medium to long term strategy".

She also said that there is a lack of detail on the required legislation in the event of a hard Brexit.

Earlier, Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin criticised the Government, and said it was "scandalous" that the Dáil would be the last to know about the plans.  

Mr Martin said the Government was "treating the Dáil in a very shabby manner when it comes to Brexit preparedness."

He said a proposal by the Government to provide information to a Brexit stakeholders forum tomorrow was unacceptable. 

Additional reporting Mícheál Lehane