Opposition claims Ireland not prepared for no-deal Brexit
The Government has published laws that will be enacted if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Ireland is not adequately prepared for a no-deal Brexit, the leader of the country’s main opposition party has claimed.
Micheal Martin said the Irish Government was not ready should the UK crash out of the EU at the end of March, despite its no-deal Brexit contingency planning.
The Government published a wide range of laws on Friday that will be enacted if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Discussing the legislation outside Leinster House, Mr Martin described the UK’s withdrawal from the EU as the most severe threat to Irish society in over a decade.
He said: “I don’t think we’re adequately prepared for a no-deal Brexit… the Government perhaps thought they would have a deal earlier.”
Mr Martin added that the Government would not have been in the position to publish the legislation if Fianna Fail had pulled the plug on the confidence and supply deal as some other political parties had urged him to do.
Last year Fianna Fail re-entered into a confidence and supply arrangement with Fine Gael to ensure the continuation of the minority government as the country prepared for Brexit.
“We wouldn’t be in a position to enact this legislation if I didn’t take the position I took and the party didn’t take the position it took to continue with the confidence and supply,” he said.
“There’s a lot of hot air out there from some quarters about preparing for Brexit and being ready for Brexit.
“The reality is Fianna Fail had to take the hard decision before Christmas, in my view the correct decision, to continue with confidence and supply, give the Government space in terms of the negotiations around Brexit but also to prepare for any eventualities.”
The Fianna Fail leader made the comments ahead of the party’s national annual conference in Dublin on Saturday.
SDLP leader Colum Eastwood will address the conference in Dublin’s Citywest.
It is the first national meeting since Fianna Fail and the SDLP announced a partnership in late January.