Tuesday 18 June 2019

Pressure mounts on Government to publish no-deal contingency plans

 

Promise: Simon Coveney pledges more ‘no deal’ information soon. Photo: PA
Promise: Simon Coveney pledges more ‘no deal’ information soon. Photo: PA
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

Tanáiste Simon Coveney said the Government made a "judgment call" in relation to discussing contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit, and pledged there will be a "lot more" information in the coming weeks.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has repeatedly called on the Government to publish its plans in order to create public buy-in.

But the Taoiseach again resisted calls in the Dáil for specific information on measures to be taken to mitigate the impact of a no-deal exit by the UK.

However, Mr Coveney said: "It's not true to say that there haven't been a lot of documents published," pointing to 70 papers published by the European Commission.

He said contingency planning has been under way for some time and the Government decided this week to intensify the preparation for a no-deal scenario which would see a cliff-edge Brexit next March.

"We have spent many, many months on contingency but we made a judgment call, until recently, that the public focus had to be on getting a deal done in the context of the compromises that were necessary from the EU side and the UK side to get a withdrawal agreement in place, and getting the declaration on the future relationship in place. That was successful. That deal got done," he said.

A Cabinet decision taken this week to intensify preparations for no-deal was "essentially an instruction to senior civil servants across the key departments to now put no-deal contingency plans in place, they've already been planning for that, but now we have to finalise their plans and take actions on the back of that," he said.

The European Commission will not finish its contingency discussions across 15 sectors until January 10.

Plans from Brussels will be needed in relation to areas such as aviation, data protection and fisheries.

A Government spokesman said this week that additional infrastructure is needed at ports and airports, which is "already under way".

Irish Independent

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