News World Irish government under pressure at home over no-deal Brexit border plans

Irish government under pressure at home over no-deal Brexit border plans

Ireland’s government came under further pressure on Wednesday to explain how its border with British-run Northern Ireland would be managed if Britain leaves the European Union without a withdrawal agreement in March.

A suggestion by the European Commission’s chief spokesman on Tuesday that a no-deal Brexit would lead to the return of a hard border on the island, complete with customs checks, focused attention on Dublin’s insistence that it will not even countenance contingency plans for such an outcome.

The spokesman added on Wednesday that the bloc would do its utmost to avoid a hard border regardless of how Brexit goes.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar’s government will only say that there would have to be “very difficult conversations” over border arrangements if Britain leaves without a deal.

Challenged on that position a number of times on national radio on Tuesday, Agriculture Minister Michael Creed said: “We have made it an imperative in our negotiating strategy from day one that we would not countenance border infrastructure.”

“It is imperative now that the focus remains fully on London,” Creed told Ireland’s RTE.

Mairead McGuinness, a vice president of the European Parliament and member of Varadkar’s Fine Gael party, said all sides needed to wait and see what emerges from the British parliament next week, particularly regarding an opposition amendment that could prevent a no-deal Brexit in March.

That attempt gained momentum in London on Wednesday, pushing sterling to its highest level against the dollar in two months.

Opposition politicians in Ireland, who last year gave near unanimous backing to the divorce deal, including the “backstop” insurance policy to keep the border open, are now demanding more clarity on no-deal border planning.

“If we’re committed to no border in the event of a no-deal Brexit, I would very much welcome – as I think our citizens would – an explanation as to how that’s possible and what they’re going to do about it,” Lisa Chambers, Brexit spokesman for the main Fianna Fail opposition party, told RTE.

“Because the question is being rightly asked that it doesn’t really add up.”

Ireland’s main business lobby continued to back Dublin’s emphatic stance on the “backstop” but said it would begin to push harder for some kind of means to avoid a cliff-edge exit if the risk of a no-deal outcome increases.

“From a business point of view, the most important thing is time, so even if we find ourselves in a no-deal scenario, we need a transition. Mechanisms can be found to retain the status quo for a period of time,” the Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC) policy chief Fergal O’Brien told Reuters.


Top Stories

Where to get antigen rapid tests on Monday, 25 January

The Health Ministry announced the following antigen rapid test sites for Monday, 25 January 2021:   LIMASSOL Parking place Lidl supermarket, Limassol 08:30-16:30 Parking place Sklavenitis supermarket, Germasoyia...

130 new cases, three deaths announced on Sunday

The Health Ministry announced the death of three persons due to COVID-19. This raises the death toll from the virus in Cyprus to 186,...

-2 C on Troodos Mountain tonight

Tonight the weather will be mainly fine. Winds will be north-westerly to north-easterly, moderate, force 3 Beaufort. The sea will be slight to rough. The temperature...

Health Ministry to examine use of colchicine for COVID-19 patients

Regarding the use of colchicine to patients with COVID-19, due to relevant announcements made in Greece and Canada, the Advisory Committee of the Health...

Expert says lifting of all measures possible by March, if epidemiological figures allow it

Dr Petros Karayiannis, member of the Scientific Committee on the pandemic and Professor of Microbiology/Molecular Virology at the University of Nicosia Medical School has...


Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...


No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...