Saturday 17 August 2019

Ireland not ready if UK crashes out of EU, Fianna Fail leader claims

The Fianna Fail leader added that ensuring stability has to be ‘the essential prerequisite of any political party in the country’.

Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin (Justin Farrelly/PA)
Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin (Justin Farrelly/PA)

By Michelle Devane, PA

Ireland is not ready to deal with a no-deal Brexit outcome, the leader of the country’s main opposition party has claimed.

Michael Martin said “mayhem” will ensue at Irish ports if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal.

He added that in a bid to ensure political stability in Ireland, Fianna Fail would continue to honour its confidence and supply agreement with the Fine Gael-led government.

“The government says it’s ready for no deal. It’s not ready for no deal,” Mr Martin said.

“There is a lot of huffing and puffing, but I am told the ports are not ready. Dublin Port is not ready for a no-deal Brexit, despite what you hear, and presentations and I am told by people who know the port, with experience of the port, that mayhem will ensue.

“It’s important that if a no-deal Brexit is to occur – it may not – but if it’s to occur, all hands need to be on deck to make sure that the people are looked after out there, that jobs are looked after, that people’s livelihoods are looked after and protected insofar as we possibly can.”

The Fianna Fail leader added that ensuring stability has to be “the essential prerequisite of any political party in the country” at present.

The Cork South Central TD said the Conservative leadership race in the UK was “adding to the sense of crisis” and the “sense of uncertainty” at present and that in the face of such uncertainty Fianna Fail intended to continue with the confidence and agreement.

“One of the reasons why we extended confidence and supply was the potential of a no-deal Brexit and the necessity of Ireland to be ready for it,” he said.

“I think unfortunately the prospect is as alive today as it was last December when I articulated that viewpoint, and announced the strategy, that we were adopting in terms of putting the country first and taking a constructive, responsible approach to the affairs of the nation.

“That’s what we intend to do.”

Asked whether if the prospect of a no-deal scenario still looms, whether there were any circumstances under which he might end the confidence and supply agreement, Mr Martin replied: “The no-deal scenario opens up such potential economic disruption and is uncertain and cannot be foreseen… that I think it would be irresponsible to provoke a general election in the next number of months and that is our position on that.”

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