Govt hiding worst case Brexit scenarios for fear they 'will be twisted by some in Westminster'

Govt hiding worst case Brexit scenarios for fear they 'will be twisted by some in Westminster'

The Government is purposely hiding worst-case Brexit plans from the public as they fear they could be "twisted" by MPs in Westminster.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney has told the Dáil that "internal discussion is taking place" in relation to the border and checks in a no-deal scenario, emphasising that there is "no easy fix".

He said all options will be weighed up before the Government informs the public - "otherwise anything we say will be twisted by some in Westminster in order to disseminate a political message that is not accurate. That has happened over and over again with regard to alternatives to the backstop".

But lashing out at the lack of clarity from the Government, Green party leader, Eamon Ryan, said a hard Brexit is becoming "very real" and the public and farmers must be given "some understanding of what that might mean".

"We better try to provide some clarity so that we will not be totally unprepared for what we will have to do if Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn are unable to reach some sort of agreement and the UK inadvertently crashes out," said Mr Ryan.

He said it is not good enough that we are now on "Brexit day plus one" and the Government is only now "scrambling" to answer questions around a border and checks.

"We all agree that we want to avoid infrastructure at the Border, but if we will have to have vets carrying out checks in respect of animal movements, when will the vets be told what those checks will be and where they are going to take place?"

Citing Glanbia, which brings 130 million litres of milk from Northern Ireland to the South every year, Mr Ryan said: "It would be useful for farmers on both sides of the border to know what will happen with that milk rather than everyone rushing to find a plan to manage the issue the day after Brexit.

"What happens in the case that we suspect there is chlorinated chicken in the UK market? How would we manage that? Would it be managed at Dublin Port, at the factory, or at the Port of Larne?"

Mr Coveney said the EU will have to protect the single market and the customs union while trying to prevent physical border infrastructure but said there is no magic solution to the issue.

While he said the British Government has promised it will not implement checks or apply tariffs on goods travelling from Ireland to Northern Ireland in a no-deal Brexit Mr Coveney said there is "no way" the EU can provide the same assurance in respect of goods travelling from North to South.

Govt hiding worst case Brexit scenarios for fear they 'will be twisted by some in Westminster'

"We cannot ignore the obligations and responsibilities that would be on the EU if Northern Ireland, as part of the United Kingdom, were to leave the European Union and therefore be outside of the Single Market and customs union. The EU would have to apply the rules it applies to any third country outside of the EU to Northern Ireland, which would pose real difficulties on this island."

Mr Coveney indicated that mechanisms to allows for the collection of tariffs are being developed to reassurance to other EU member states that Ireland will not be dragged out of the single market by Britain crashing out of the EU: "They recognise that we have a dual obligation. It is a very complicated and difficult problem to solve."

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