Monday 16 September 2019

What have we learned about the UK's exit in past week?

Q&A

Tánaiste Simon Coveney described the contingency plans as
Tánaiste Simon Coveney described the contingency plans as "stark" and "sobering", adding that implementing them will be a "damage limitation exercise". Stock photo: PA Wire/PA Images
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Has there been any breakthrough on Brexit this week?

The short answer is no. The European Commission and Irish Government both published details of their no-deal planning this week, and it paints a worrying picture for this country.

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How is Ireland fixed for a no-deal scenario?

There has been plenty of background planning taking place - but that doesn't take away from the reality that a no-deal Brexit will hurt us economically and socially.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney described the contingency plans as "stark" and "sobering", adding that implementing them will be a "damage limitation exercise".

What are the key points from the Irish plans?

A lot of focus has been put on expanding ports and airports.

New land is needed at Dublin and Rosslare ports to deal with potential customs checks. Extra staff are also being hired.

Some 45 pieces of emergency legislation will have to be passed when the Dáil returns in the new year.

The plans warn that medicine supplies could be affected.

And Irish exporters will struggle with "severe delays" if their goods are transported using the so-called 'landbridge' across Britain to the continent.

What about the Border in a no-deal scenario?

This is still the great unknown. The European Commission has said that every consignment of live animals and animal products coming from the UK would have to undergo checks at the point of entry into the EU.

However, the Irish Government is refusing to accept this means border posts will have to be erected.

At the same time, neither Taoiseach Leo Varadkar nor Tánaiste Simon Coveney can explain how checks could be carried out without a border.

If the contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit have been published, is that an acceptance that the Withdrawal Agreement is dead?

No. Both the Irish and UK governments continue to insist there is still hope that the Withdrawal Agreement will win approval in the House of Commons.

Prime Minister Theresa May has made little progress in convincing more MPs to back it, though.

A debate is still raging in Britain over a second referendum.

Irish Independent

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