Wednesday 21 August 2019

Ireland will fight against Brexit 'dragging Ireland out of single market' - Tánaiste

Simon Coveney TD, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade speaking at the opening of Cork Airport’s new Airport Control Centre (ACC) and purpose-built office suite The Hub. Pic: Brian Lougheed
Simon Coveney TD, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade speaking at the opening of Cork Airport’s new Airport Control Centre (ACC) and purpose-built office suite The Hub. Pic: Brian Lougheed
John Downing

John Downing

Ireland will fight the risk of being “dragged out of the EU single market” after Brexit, Tánaiste Simon Coveney said today.

Under pressure from opposition TDs, and as the Taoiseach met French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, Mr Coveney said he believed the risk of a no-deal crash-out Brexit is increasing.

The Foreign Affairs Minister said the Government continues to make its plans to manage a no-deal end to Brexit in 10 days’ time on April 12.

He said Ireland will act to defend the integrity of the EU single market, and he also said the UK was committed to giving special status to the North after Brexit to stave off a hard border.

He said Ireland had stepped up no-deal preparations and the Cabinet will meet again at 8.30 this evening when the Taoiseach returns from his meeting in Paris.

Mr Coveney added that in the case of a no-deal Ireland will have a dual obligation to manage the border issues and also protect the integrity of the EU single market.

The Tánaiste also warned that Ireland will not tolerate a situation where mainland EU states impose controls on Irish exports.

"Ireland is not going to allow a situation where the UK leaving the EU without a deal, drags Ireland out of the single market with it. That is not a runner," Mr Coveney stressed.

Under questioning from Fianna Fáil deputy leader, Dara Calleary, Mr Coveney said the Government would not tolerate a situation where border controls would be moved to mainland Europe to protect the single market.

Mr Calleary said the series of deadlocked votes in the Westminster parliament, and comments by EU chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, strongly signalled that no-deal scenario was increasingly likely.

The Mayo Fianna Fáil TD said he still hoped no-deal can be avoided – but he said the Government should be more open with the public about the risks and implications. 

"Nobody wants a hard Brexit but the indecision of the parliament in Westminster may land us in one whether by accident or design," Mr Calleary said.

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