Dilution of backstop will scare off investors, says Fianna Fáil

Dilution of backstop will scare off investors, says Fianna Fáil
Billy Kelleher

Fianna Fáil have warned that any dilution of the backstop to prevent a hard border with Brexit will concern Irish people and scare off investors.

Speaking after the Taoiseach this week told British Prime Minister Theresa May that Ireland may consider a review of the backstop, which guarantees no border in the event of a no-deal, TD Billy Kelleher called on the government to clarify its position on the Brexit talks.

The Cork North Central TD said:

“There is no doubt there is a certain amount of disquiet out there since the Taoiseach made those comments. The backstop was sold as being an integral part of these negotiations. It gave certainty to the situation regarding the border on the island of Ireland.

“Any diminution of that would obviously be of concern. Our view is the backstop is what it is. It was sold on the context that it was bringing certainty to the issue and any move to dilute that would be of concern.”

Ms May meets her Cabinet today where it is expected she will make a final push for Brexiteers to go for some kind of deal, so there can be a special EU leaders summit later this month.

But the offer by Mr Varadkar has made headlines across the EU and also set off alarm bells in the Oireachtas with warnings that Ireland should not be pushed into conceding a ground on a guarantee for a frictionless border just to get Britain on board for a withdrawal deal.

Mr Kelleher, Fianna Fáil's business spokesman, pointed out that his party had offered political certainty in the Dáil with a formal notice under the confidence and supply deal that there would be no snap general election until there is some Brexit deal.

"There certainty is an issue around any dilution of the backstop. It could create uncertainty, into the future. You could have a changed political landscape across the EU or in the UK.

Anything that reduced that guarantee was a "grave concern" politically but also "economically for businesses", said Mr Kelleher, adding:

"The greatest enemy of investment is uncertainty."

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