Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Tánaiste Simon Coveney has said he agrees that a no-deal Brexit is increasingly likely with every day that passes.

Speaking at Leaders’ Questions, Mr Coveney said no-deal Brexit preparations have intensified significantly in recent days and that will continue.

“What we need to do and what we are doing now is to intensify our discussions with the European Commission on how we protect the Good Friday Agreement while at the same reassuring other EU countries that Ireland is protecting the integrity of the Single Market,” he added.

“Ireland is not going to allow a situation where the UK leaving the European Union without a deal drags Ireland out of the Single Market with it. We cannot allow that situation,” he said.

“By that, I mean that a response of checks in EU ports on all Irish products is not a runner. It would cause significant damage to our economy and we will not allow it.”

Pressurised by Fianna Fáil’s Deputy Leader Dara Calleary to reveal what plans are being developed to ensure no hard border returns while maintaining our EU obligations to the single market.

“Every part of this House wants to work with the Government in preparation for a hard Brexit but we need the information.

“We need to see the details of the plan so that we can share it and get it out there. Hope is no longer a strategy. Surely that detail should be shared with this House.

“It is the detail that is relevant to every single citizen of this island, in all 32 counties,” he said.

“I presume that detail is being discussed in Paris today, and will be discussed with Chancellor Merkel on Thursday but is not being discussed in this House.

“I presume the Taoiseach and President Macron are not discussing their Kylie collections today: they must be discussing this level of detail,” he added.

Mr Coveney said to present this as the Irish Government having a plan that it goes to Brussels with to look for approval for is not accurate.

I think we are well prepared in many ways. We go through the detail of that preparation on quite a regular basis with stakeholders and many others.

“I will bring two Brexit papers to Cabinet this evening when it meets at 8.30pm on the Taoiseach’s return from Paris,” he said.

The Taoiseach has referred to the conversations that have begun on that issue.

There was a meeting last Friday and those discussions will continue into this week.

“We must find a way to protect the Single Market’s integrity but also avoid physical border infrastructure on the Border.

“That is something on which we do not have an agreed plan but this week, and presumably into next week if necessary, we are working on this in the context of a no-deal Brexit,” he said.

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