Sunday 15 September 2019

Border checks after no-deal Brexit will only be a 'temporary arrangement' - Coveney

Tanaiste Simon Coveney. Photo: REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
Tanaiste Simon Coveney. Photo: REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

ANY border checks introduced after a no-deal Brexit will only be a “temporary arrangement”, Tánaiste Simon Coveney has insisted.

He said “nobody wants to avoid a no deal more than we do” but Boris Johnson has still not tabled any detailed alternatives to the backstop.

Speaking at a gathering of the Fine Gael party in Cork today, Mr Coveney said he is “convinced the Prime Minister wants to get a deal” even though significant gaps remain.

The Irish government is to engage in a fresh round of talks next week on what happens at the border if the UK crashes out of the EU on October 31.

“The most important thing we need to do is level with people,” Mr Coveney said – but he again declined to give any specifics on how border checks might work.

However, he said: “We don’t regard those check in a no-deal scenario as a permanent arrangement.”

The Tánaiste said the EU and Ireland are working to agreed what would amount to the “minimal number of checks that is credible”.

Ireland is willing to impose some checks close to the border in order protect our membership of the EU single market.

They will not automatically spring up on November 1 but will be rolled out over a number of weeks. The timeline is still being discussed in Brussels.

Mr Coveney said that the idea put forward by some UK politicians that a ‘clean break’ Brexit would end three years of debate is a “contradiction in terms”.

“The issue doesn’t go away just because Britain leaves the EU without a deal.”

He said all the same problems would have to be solved “without a transition period”.

Mr Coveney added that those who dismiss the threat of a disorderly Brexit are “not being fully upfront about the challenges and complexity of no deal”.

He said Ireland would not allowed people to be misled or the “can to be kicked down the road”.

Instead he wants the EU and UK to find a “middle ground”.

“We are convinced the Prime minister wants to get a deal but there are significant gaps.”

He added: “If you look at the evidence in oppose to the language used, it’s easy to be sceptical.”

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