Belfast Telegraph

Irish government to finalise no-deal Brexit contingency plans

Deputy premier Simon Coveney said he still believes a no-deal scenario can be avoided.

Tanaiste Simon Coveney (Brian Lawless/PA)
Tanaiste Simon Coveney (Brian Lawless/PA)

The Irish government has discussed its contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.

Despite ramping up its action plan for the UK crashing out of the EU, Ireland’s deputy premier has said he does not want to give an impression that the country can easily manage a no-deal Brexit.

Simon Coveney said it will put a “huge strain” on the Irish economy but added that he still believes a no-deal Brexit can be avoided.

His comments come following a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday.

The Cabinet discussed the 16 different pieces of legislation across nine government departments that has been designed for a no-deal Brexit, and will be published on Friday.

Part of a former smuggling route covering both sides of the Irish border (Michael McHugh/PA)

Speaking on RTE’s Morning Ireland, Mr Coveney said: “It will do things like protect cross-border health services so that children will be able to continue to come to Dublin for specialist paediatric care.

“It will also ensure that British students in Ireland will continue to be treated as citizens almost in this country and vice versa for Irish students in the UK.

“It also does things we never thought we would have to do, like put a legislative base in place for someone to get on a train in Dublin to go to Belfast, because they will be travelling out of the EU and into a third country and back again.”

He said the new law is to protect Irish citizens and the economy.

Other measures to help businesses prepare have also been put in place.

It will put huge strain on the Irish economy and huge strain on many sectors that are vulnerable Simon Coveney

He added that the UK government made a commitment in December 2017 to offer “bespoke solutions” if there was no agreement on how to solve the border issue on the island of Ireland.

He added: “But if there is no agreement on those bespoke solutions, which are presumably around technology which we are very sceptical of, then the UK will maintain full alignment with the rules of the customs union and the single market in Northern Ireland.

“While we have a huge amount of contingency planning in place and we are going to be passing new legislation to protect Irish people, I wouldn’t like to give the impression we can easily manage a no-deal Brexit if it were to happen next month, which I don’t think it will.

“It will put huge strain on the Irish economy and huge strain on many sectors that are vulnerable particularly around agriculture, fishing, food industry and some other areas.

“We are doing everything we physically can to ensure that we prepare as best we can with our partners across the EU.”

Ireland’s Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said the Brexit Omnibus Bill will ensure that Irish consumers who have bought insurance products out of the UK are protected.

“It ensures that in the event of a no-deal scenario, shared transactions would still be able to take place in regards to the Irish stock exchange,” he added.

“Across a variety of different Government departments, we have key details in place to help us maintain status quo in key places.”

He said the legislation published this Friday will show the “attention to detail” in sensitive areas and how the Government will manage it.

“Citizens will have grave concern if they found in April insurance products that they have purchased in good faith out of the UK no longer hold the protection they thought it would. We are looking to deal with this,” he added.

“In terms of investments we are making across this year – we have provision in our budgets for all Government departments for additional money that needs to be spent.”



From Belfast Telegraph