EU and US will 'do right by Ireland' post Brexit, Taoiseach claims

EU and US will 'do right by Ireland' post Brexit, Taoiseach claims

Ireland will not be abandoned by the EU or by the US Congress who will "do right by Ireland" in relation to Brexit, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has boldly claimed.

With 34 days to go to avoid a disorderly Brexit, Mr Varadkar insisted Ireland will not be abandoned by Europe or by Washington in the coming weeks.

“Westminster might be the mother of all parliaments but it’s not the boss of other parliaments and I know the European Parliament will not vote for a withdrawal agreement that does not do right by Ireland. And I don’t believe the United States Congress will agree to any trade between the US and the UK that would undermine the Good Friday Agreement and the open border between North and South,” he said tonight at a Fine Gael convention meeting in Mullingar.

Ireland will not block any UK request to delay Brexit should Prime Minister Theresa May decide to seek one, the Taoiseach and Tanaiste have said.

The Government earlier published its detailed legislation to cope with the impact of a UK crash out.

But both Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney suggested that given the raft of resignations from both the Conservative and Labour parties this week, the chances of an extension have increased.

Mr Coveney said: “We have made it very clear that the Irish government won't be an obstacle to the UK looking for more time, if they need that and if they want that.

But what the British government will have to do is not only ask for more time but explain to the EU how they will use that extra time so there is a plan with the extra time,” he said.

The Taoiseach said that the EU summit on March 22 will be the next formal meeting of leaders and a decision to delay Brexit could be taken then.

“There is increasing talk that Article 50 may be extended so that is the kind of decision-making meeting if you like if we go down that road,” he said in Sligo.

Mr Coveney launched emergency measures to protect Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit, warning that the Irish backstop will “not be "jettisoned” by the EU at the last minute.

Mr Coveney said his only desire was to see the emergency laws "sit on a shelf" but they were needed to ensure that services, transport and arrangements with the UK continue to work.

A no-deal was a "lose, lose, lose" scenario for the UK, EU and Ireland, he said.

And in strong defence of the measure to guarantee there will be no border if Britain crashes out of the EU, Mr Coveney said the Irish backstop was “fiercely” supported by people it was designed to protect.

The coalition's Omnibus Bill crosses nine government departments and is made up of 15 parts. The extensive legislation will help protect Irish citizens, support businesses and jobs, and secure ongoing access to services and products, the government said.

Areas covered under the emergency legislation include facilitating continued access to cross border health services, measures to support vulnerable firms, securing the all-island electricity market and enabling the ongoing availability of grants and insurance products.

But the Opposition has demanded concrete measures to protect jobs and sectors as well as answers to what happens on the island in the event of a no-deal.

Fianna Fail will back the emergency legislation but Sinn Fein is refusing to guarantee support for the Bill.

Both parties said not enough practical support for agriculture and firms had been outlined.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said: “In terms of a no-deal Brexit, I don't think we are prepared. There is growing anxiety on the agri-food sector and the beef sector about what will happen if there is a no-deal Brexit."

"How we keep Irish food on British market shelves? How we get the landbridge [the UK transit route linking Ireland and mainland Europe].

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