Pressure is mounting on the Government to ramp up its crisis Brexit plans after British prime minister Boris Johnson moved to muzzle MPs trying to stop a chaotic EU exit.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar faces demands to recall the Dáil early, to boost emergency funds for firms, and to ensure future spending helps offset the impact of a hard Brexit.
In the latest Brexit crisis, Mr Johnson asked the British Queen to suspend the House of Commons for five weeks, in a move widely viewed as a way to restrict the ability of MPs to block a no-deal.
The UK parliament will be prorogued from September 9 until October 14, wherein the Queen’s speech will reopen it. This will be just three days prior to a key EU Brexit summit.
The measure will deny parliament time to debate Brexit, especially amid opposition plans to either force a vote of no confidence in the Johnson administration or to pass laws to stop a no-deal before the October 31 deadline
House of Commons speaker John Bercow called the move a “constitutional outrage” while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn deemed it a “smash and grab” against democracy.
There is speculation Mr Johnson is maneuvering for a general election, to try and win a majority in parliament and then bargain his own Brexit deal with the EU.
But the outcome is still uncertain, with the likelihood of fresh resignations and the possibility that the opposition may just have enough time next week to stymie his plans.
Tánaiste Simon Coveney sharply criticised Mr Johnson for trying to scrap the backstop-designed to prevent any fresh border in the North.
"We are not going to compromise on a peace process that is fragile right now on the island of Ireland,” he said in Paris.
But the Government is coming under renewed pressure to commit extra funding and to recall the Dáil.
The latter demand of Mr Varadkar was made by Green leader Eamon Ryan and backed by some Labour figures.
Nonetheless, Mr Varadkar’s spokeswoman said Cabinet would meet next week and discuss Brexit, adding:
“The Irish parliament’s schedule shouldn’t be dictated by British political matters.”
Fianna Fáil agreed, with Brexit spokeswoman Lisa Chambers telling the Irish Examiner:
“I think we should leave the drama to Westminster. It would be bizarre for the Dáil to have a special sitting to discuss the House of Commons not sitting.”
She said the government needed to “ramp up” preparations for a likely no-deal. Ministers needed to also come clean on where checks would be on goods, she said, with farmers and exporters still left in the lurch.
Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald said Mr Johnson’s move “shows the arrogance of the British government”.
The Central Bank has also weighed into the debate.
Acting governor Sharon Donnery, in a pre-budget letter to Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, said extra spending should help pay down debt.