Wednesday 16 October 2019

'Too early' to be optimistic on Brexit deal - Coveney

Tánaiste Simon Coveney
Tánaiste Simon Coveney

Kevin Doyle Group Political Editor

IT’S “too early” to be optimistic about the Brexit deal getting through the UK House of Commons, Tánaiste Simon Coveney has warned.

He said politicians and businesses “should not take the foot off the accelerator” on the assumption that some sort of deal will be agreed.

After a Cabinet meeting where further contingency plans for a disorderly Brexit were discussed, Mr Coveney said he trusts the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier to protect the backstop.

He said Mr Barnier was “trying to find a way through” and reassure UK representatives that they will not be “trapped” in the backstop against their will.

However, the Tánaiste described the ongoing negotiations as “difficult”.

Cabinet was today briefed that by the end of the month Revenue will have more than 400 additional staff trained and in place to deal with any potential implications for customs.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine will have over 200 additional staff trained and in place, and the Department of Health will have at least 59 additional staff trained and in place.

The Government is now also in a position to agree a memorandum of understanding in relation to the Common Travel Area.

The provisions of the Omnibus Bill, across a number of areas ensure that these legislative measures will be implemented in Ireland in a no-deal scenario.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe also gave Cabinet an update on a further assessment of the economic impact of Brexit completed by the Department of Finance with the ESRI.  

The full detail of this assessment will be published jointly with the ESRI next week. 

The Dáil will spend most of this week debating the Omnibus Brexit Bill and 21 pieces of secondary legislation that were published today.

Proposed secondary legislation ranges across issues and sectors from health and social protection to VAT and making provision for EU contingency regulations.

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