Wednesday 19 June 2019

‘Managed no deal’ not an alternative to Brexit agreement, Government says

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said ‘no such thing exists’.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said a ‘managed no deal’ does not exist (Brian Lawless/PA Wire)
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said a ‘managed no deal’ does not exist (Brian Lawless/PA Wire)

By Michelle Devane, Press Association

A “managed no deal” being touted by some Brexiteers as an alternative to the Withdrawal Agreement does not exist, the Finance Minister has said.

Paschal Donohoe said there was “no such thing” as a so-called “managed no deal” that is being touted by some in London as an alternative to the deal reached between the UK and the EU.

The EU’s stance is that the UK cannot be allowed to reduce the impact of leaving the EU without a deal by trying to enter into other deals.

Mr Donohoe said: “It is very important not to pretend that there can be, what some in the UK are calling, a ‘managed no deal’. No such thing exists and, from the EU perspective, we need to be very careful not to put at risk the benefits of the Withdrawal Agreement and, in particular, the transitional arrangements and the backstop.”

He made the comments during a parliamentary finance committee meeting on Tuesday where he faced questions from TDs and senators about the Government’s Brexit contingency plans.

We are not engaging in or planning for the implementation of infrastructure on our border Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe

Some Brexiteers have voiced their support for a so-called managed no deal, which could see the UK paying the EU for a transition period or mini deals to ease the negative impacts of the UK crashing out of Brexit.

During the committee meeting Mr Donohoe reiterated the Government’s backing of the Withdrawal Agreement and the backstop.

But the Dublin TD said the Government was working daily on its no-deal contingency planning, but he said they did not include plans for physical infrastructure for a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

“We are not engaging in or planning for the implementation of infrastructure on our border,” he said.

In the event of a disorderly Brexit, discussions would need to be held between the UK and the Commission regarding how that would be delivered.

“This is the very reason we’ve been negotiating for a backstop in the first place,” he said.

He was pressed by Sinn Fein’s Pearse Doherty whether he could reassure the committee that there will be custom checks on the border in no-deal scenario.

Mr Donohoe said: “I am re-stating that we will not be involved in any procedure that leads to the development of checks on the border. I want to be very clear about that.”

He added that in the worst case scenario there would be checks in place on goods coming from UK to Ireland because the UK would become a third-country.

Asked by Mr Doherty what would happen if those goods came across the border, from Newry to Dundalk into the Republic, Mr Donohoe replied: “That will have to be subjective engagement that we have with the European Commission.”

Mr Donohoe told committee members that the risk of a disorderly exit had increased in recent weeks and that if it came to pass the Department of Finance has predicted that the economy would slow by 6% more than if Brexit did not happen and by 4.25% more than the Government’s current trajectory which factors in a deal being made between the UK and the EU.

He added that the unemployment rate would increase by an estimated 2%, relative to Budget 2019 projections, and that the most adverse impacts are likely to be felt in agri-food and indigenous manufacturing sectors.

Press Association

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