Minister for European Affairs Helen McEntee has said it is important to remain calm following British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to suspend parliament.
“It is important for us to remain consistent, we have been flexible we have adapted as much as we can through the negotiations, there has always been give and take, we cannot give any more,” she told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.
The Minister acknowledged that with nine weeks to go to the Brexit deadline “it is looking more likely” that there will be a no-deal Brexit.
Ms McEntee called on the British Prime Minister to put forward alternative solutions to the backstop. As it stands the backstop is the only solution to address issues such as protecting the Good Friday Agreement and the all-island economy, she said.
“We are asking them to put forward proposals that could replace the backstop so it would never need to be used.
The border is not just about trade, added the Minister.
“We are being asked to remove the backstop and to replace it with nothing. We have to remain consistent. The backstop as it currently stands was negotiated by the UK.”
In the meantime it was important for anyone trading with the UK “to engage with the process,” said Ms McEntee. “The information and financial support is there.”
As for the Government’s plans in the event of a hard Brexit, the Minister said “as soon as we know we will let people know. Some things you just can’t predict.
“We need to be as clear as we can, we are giving as much information as we can.”
When asked about a social media comment by a Cabinet colleague comparing Borish Johnson to Oliver Cromwell, Ms McEntee said that it reflected the frustration being felt by many, but that the Government needed to remain consistent and calm.
Meanwhile, pressure is mounting on the Government to ramp up its crisis Brexit plans.
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.