Government under pressure to name a Brexit minister

The Government has lost a key vote on a Fianna Fáil motion to create a Brexit minister, putting it under increased pressure to appoint an individual to the role in the coming weeks.

The Fine Gael-Independents coalition lost the vote, which also included calls for Northern Ireland to be given special status within the EU, by 77 to 61 amid claims the Government is “throwing in the towel” on hopes of preventing a hard border.

The vote to create a Brexit minister means the Government will now be asked to do so, contradicting the long-held view by Taoiseach Enda Kenny that there is no need for a specific minister to have responsibility for the issue.

However, while the ballot places fresh pressure on the coalition, it does not mean the Government will be forced to create the role.

The vote result came as Fianna Fáil public expenditure spokesperson Dara Calleary warned the Government is “throwing in the towel” on hopes of preventing a hard border.

Speaking during the Dáil debate, Mr Calleary cited an Irish Examiner article earlier this week by saying Revenue is “scouting” for customs post locations along the border.

The situation was rejected by Education Minister Richard Bruton, who said it would be a “huge backward step”.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the finance committee yesterday he was not aware of the situation until the report emerged and did not request.

However, Mr Calleary said that the issue shows the Government is now accepting the possibility that a hard border may occur, saying this shows the need for a Brexit minister.

Meanwhile, at a separate event in Dublin last night EU agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan said that political parties must put on the “green jersey” in order to adequately tackle the Brexit “hammer blow”.

“Brexit came as a hammer blow, and while Ireland finds itself in an invidious position, it is taking to the challenge with steel in its spine.

“If ever there was a time for all politicians and parties to put on the ‘green jersey,’ this is it,” he told an Institute of International and European Affairs.

“Reinforcing old coalitions and building new ones is the correct way to proceed.

“The EU Brexit negotiators are mandated to pursue the broader European interest.

“The challenge for Ireland therefore is to, wherever possible, ensure that our national interest is built into the negotiating positions outlining the European interest,” he said.


Related Articles

Jean-Claude Juncker warns UK Brexit phase II will be 'considerably harder than the first'

Irish ‘safe harbour’ for Asian investment after Brexit

Next phase of Brexit talks may start in 'three months or so', says Taoiseach

Simon Coveney: Brexit transition period could last five years

More in this Section

Fears at ‘painfully slow’ pace of falling mortgage arrears

ICTU: Private unions should seek 3.1% pay hike

Charity gets €300,000 in water fee refunds

Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin coy on abortion recommendation


Breaking Stories

Pro-life TDs quit Eighth Amendment committee in protest

Irish Rail staff unhappy with their Christmas Bonus

Man in hospital after crash in Donegal

Two people due in court in connection with aggravated burglary in Dublin

Lifestyle

Scenes from the analogue city - Memories of Limerick from the late 80s and early 90s

Ask Audrey: 'I heard that Viagra fumes from Pfizer’s were causing stiffys below in Ringaskiddy'

The 12 drinks of Christmas - Top tipples for the festive season

Sex advice with Suzi Godson: My boyfriend is too noisy during sex

More From The Irish Examiner