Gov to keep no-deal border plans secret until two weeks before Brexit deadline, says Tánaiste

Gov to keep no-deal border plans secret until two weeks before Brexit deadline, says Tánaiste

Update 6pm: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar admits that some Irish jobs and companies will be forced to close as a direct result of a no-deal Brexit regardless of any protections the Government puts in place.

Mr Varadkar issued the grim warning as the Dáil returned on Tuesday saying that "some jobs won't be saved", as Tánaiste Simon Coveney said the Government will keep its no-deal border plans secret until two weeks before the Oct 31 deadline.

During the first leaders' questions session of the new Dáil term, Mr Varadkar said that with just six weeks to go before a potential October 31 no-deal Brexit, Ireland must face the realities of what might happen.

Asked by Labour leader, Brendan Howlin, for "detailed" plans similar to Britain's no-deal Yellowhammer files and for information on how much money the EU will give to protect Ireland, the Taoiseach said the Government is making all efforts to protect the country.

However, in a worrying admission, he confirmed that some people will suffer regardless of what protections are in place and that both jobs and companies will be lost.

"I would rather be in the position where the country is borrowing money to save jobs rather than borrowing money to pay the dole. But no-deal will be damage limitation," Mr Varadkar said.

"Some jobs and some companies won't be saved."

While Mr Howlin responded by again demanding information on the Government's exact plans, Mr Varadkar said he cannot do so as the details will not be fully signed-off on until the budget.

The grim economic warning came as Tánaiste Simon Coveney separately said the Government is unlikely to reveal its exact border plans until two weeks before the Brexit date of October 31.

Asked if he will wait until the deadline itself before explaining what checks may take place on goods either near the border or elsewhere if there is a no-deal Brexit, Mr Coveney said: "No, I think it will be well before that".

Pressed on the likely timeline, he added: "We don't have agreement with the commission, we're talking to them again this week, but I would certainly hope to be in a position in the next couple of weeks, certainly I'd like to have clarity on these issues certainly a couple of weeks before the possibility of a no-deal."

"But look, let's focus on avoiding a no deal for most of that time, but we'll have to have a contingency that includes the border question.

"We'll have to be upfront with people about how that might work to give people time to adapt to the realities of that."

Mr Coveneny added that the British Government has yet to put forward written proposals on the backstop.

“We in the EU are open to a deal but it must achieve the aims of the backstop through a legally operable solution,” he said.

“We await written proposals from the UK side. We simply haven’t seen any written proposals to date.”

“Just because Boris Johnson says the backstop needs to go, doesn’t meant everyone else will respond positively to that because we know the consequences of a no-deal Brexit are significant and pose huge challenges for Ireland, north and south,” he said.

“There is an obligation on the party looking for change to come up with solutions that can deal with the consequences of what they are asking for. If that question can’t be answered, we will not have a deal,” he said.

Gov to keep no-deal border plans secret until two weeks before Brexit deadline, says Tánaiste

“If the current position from the UK side is that the backstop needs to be removed then it is a perfectly reasonable request by us to say that creates huge problems and how are you going to solve it and what are you going to replace it with?” said Mr Coveney.

Earlier today it was revealed that the UK has put forward proposals to end the Brexit deadlock – but will not allow the European Union to keep hold of the written details for fear of leaks.

- additional reporting by Press Association

Earlier: Varadkar: 'Some jobs and some companies won't be saved' in no-deal Brexit

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has admitted some Irish jobs and companies will be forced to close as a direct result of a no-deal Brexit regardless of any protections the Government puts in place.

Gov to keep no-deal border plans secret until two weeks before Brexit deadline, says Tánaiste

Mr Varadkar issued the grim warning as the Dáil returned on Tuesday, saying "some jobs won't be saved".

Speaking during the first leaders' questions debate of the new Dáil term, Mr Varadkar said with just six weeks to go before a potential October 31 no-deal Brexit Ireland must face the realities of what might happen.

Asked repeatedly by Labour leader Brendan Howlin for "detailed" plans similar to Britain's no-deal Yellowhammer documents and for how much money the EU will give to protect Ireland, the Taoiseach said some people will suffer regardless of what protections are in place.

"I would rather be in the position where the country is borrowing money to save jobs rather than borrowing money to pay the dole.

"But no deal will be damage limitation. Some jobs and some companies won't be saved," Mr Varadkar said.

Gov to keep no-deal border plans secret until two weeks before Brexit deadline, says Tánaiste

Mr Varadkar said that he needed to "be honest with people as well".

He added that the Government "will put together a package that will be significant, that will be meaningful and will allow us to save those jobs and businesses that are viable in the long term."

Mr Howlin responded to the Taoiseach's comments by again demanding information on the Government's exact plans.

However, Mr Varadkar said he cannot do so as the information will not be fully signed off on until next month's budget.

- additional reporting by Digital Desk staff

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