Tuesday 20 August 2019

'It would be very, very bad for Britain and for Ireland' - Simon Coveney on possibility of a no-deal Brexit

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney Picture: Steve Humphreys
Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney Picture: Steve Humphreys
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney told the Dail that a no-deal outcome would be disastrous.

“It would be very, very bad for Britain and for Ireland should that happen,’’ he said.

“I do not believe the British government will allow it happen.’’ 

Minister Covney said that the government is now assessing the consequences of a negotiation collapse. 

“All departments are assessing in a very concrete way the immediate legal or practical consequences of a no-deal Brexit in their areas and what mitigating measures might be possible,’’ he said.

"It will then be necessary for the Government to consider the situation in the round and discuss whether specific actions are required at that stage."

“Any government must plan for a worst-case scenario and we will do that," he said.

The Foreign Affairs minister said his Department is responsible for planning and preparing project papers on the aftermath of the EU-UK negotiations. 

“This requires research on, and analysis of, very many legal, institutional and political issues,’’ he said.

“The eventual outcome of negotiations will, of course, be decisive in determining the shape and effects of Brexit."

The Minister addressed this issue at the Financial Services Ireland/IBEC annual dinner on Thursday evening.

In a speech entitled 'Brexit and Beyond", Covney said Brexit is a journey no one wanted to be taking. 

"As Minister for Foreign and Trade, my responsibility is to help achieve the best possible outcome for Ireland, Irish people and Irish companies from the current EU-UK talks. 

"The problem we face is that we know the landscape will be reshaped but there is great uncertainty about what that will actually look like."

The Minister said that EU leaders face a crucial decision next month on whether there has been 'sufficient progress' on all three exit issues - Citizens’ rights; the financial settlement and Irish specific issues.

"[We will] go into these December talks with great confidence, inspired too by the leadership Michel Barnier and his Task Force have provided and their commitment to delivering the right outcomes for Ireland."

The Minister added that Britian's decision to leave the EU was a "crushing disappointment".

"While we hope for a soft Brexit and a benign outcome, we are preparing for every eventuality. 

"I have just come from hosting with the Tánaiste a reception for Team Ireland trade practitioners from Government Departments here in Ireland and from across our overseas network of Embassies, Consulates, and state agency offices. They have spent the day working on strengthening coherence and coordination within Team Ireland so that we can maximise the impact of our trade promotion and deliver on our goals."

"I’ll be in Brussels on Monday for the vote on where the EBA will be hosted once the UK leaves the EU – I’m hoping we have better luck than with our Rugby World Cup bid.

"Securing this Agency would only further enhance our standing as a leading global financial centre and would help secure further business into Ireland," he said.

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