Ireland has no plans to prepare infrastructure for hard border - foreign minister

19 November, 2018, 11:40 | Author: Regina Silva
  • Ireland has no plans to prepare infrastructure for hard border - foreign minister

The so-called Northern Ireland backstop, which aims to keep the border between the British province and EU member Ireland open, would all but leave Northern Ireland inside the EU's single market if an eventual British/EU trade deal can not maintain the now frictionless frontier.

But after widespread opposition to a withdrawal agreement unveiled by British Prime Minister Theresa May this week sharply increased the likelihood of a so-called "no-deal" Brexit, Leo Varadkar said he might not have a choice.

Theresa May's draft Withdrawal Agreement set out plans for a "backstop" arrangement in the event the United Kingdom and European Union can't negotiate a trade deal to resolve the issue of the Irish border.

However, DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson said he did not believe it was the best deal for Northern Ireland.

Political commentator Noel Whelan said in the event of a no deal, and despite the economic fallout, he thinks the Irish people "will be forgiving" of the taoiseach, who he said "did an incredible job getting what the Irish government wanted into the agreement".

Mr Varadkar said it does not make sense to say that "goodwill" alone can keep the border open.

He added that no worldwide negotiation "gives one side everything it wants" but praised the Prime Minister for remaining "true to her word".

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He said he would not speculate on how that could be achieved.

"None of them solve the Irish border question". In Northern Ireland, four major business groups welcomed the "much needed clarity" brought by the agreement that could offer Northern Irish firms closer alignment with the EU.

"Surely we have learned lessons from the past that that is not something that would ever be in the interests of people north and south on this island", Coveney told reporters at his Fine Gael party's annual conference.

Varadkar said he did not see any scope for renegotiating it unless the British government delayed its exit beyond March 29, something it has repeatedly ruled out.

"We have been clear that a no-deal Brexit would be deeply damaging and would represent a very bad outcome for businesses, consumers and the economy as a whole".

"We would find ourselves after a very chaotic opening period having to agree something, having to agree something around aligning regulations and customs", he said.

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