Friday 22 June 2018

British backstop plans are a 'countdown to a hard border' - Brendan Howlin

Labour leader Brendan Howlin. Photo: Frank McGrath
Labour leader Brendan Howlin. Photo: Frank McGrath
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

LABOUR leader Brendan Howlin has said Ireland is facing a drift into the inevitability of a hard border on the island following Brexit.

Ahead of a series of crucial votes in the House of Commons today for Theresa May’s government on the issue Mr Howlin called on the Irish Government to make a clear statement on what it “will do in the event that we simply drift into the inevitability of a hard exit of Britain from the European Union”.

Mr Howlin said he fears “endless fudge until we run out of time” in relation to the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

The plans published last week by the British Government undermines the idea of a backstop and is instead a “countdown to a hard border”, he said.

An issue paper published last week by the UK government which proposed keeping the whole of the UK - and not just Northern Ireland - in line with EU regulations until a permanent future relationship can be negotiated, which it proposed would be 2021.

“Here we are on the eve of an important June summit... and we’ve no landing zone. We have further confusion about what the British government want to achieve,” he said.

“We are now in danger of having a Hard Brexit and the worst of all worlds.”

The Tanaiste Simon Coveney will brief the Cabinet today on the status of Brexit negotiations.

Cabinet is also due to get updates on contingency plans being formulated by all departments in advance of Brexit.

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