Paschal Donohoe: Ireland will be ready for a hard Brexit

Paschal Donohoe: Ireland will be ready for a hard Brexit

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has said Ireland is planning for challenges in the event of a hard Brexit and faces a “higher risk” if the Brexit deal is not accepted by Britain.

Speaking at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis in City West, Dublin, he also pressed Fianna Fáil to conclude negotiations to renew the government support pact soon in the “interests of the country”.

His comments come after ministers earlier at the conference said they were election-ready and that the printing presses were well “oiled” for any posters or campaign materials.

Mr Donohoe told reporters that Ireland would respond to developments with Brexit, including if the draft EU-UK withdrawal deal is not agreed.

He said: “Ireland will be ready to respond to the different challenges and risks that could be created.

“If we find ourselves in a position where the draft protocol is not agreed by the United Kingdom and the European Union, we clearly face a far higher risk than we had before.

"Ireland will be ready to respond to that, we will do all that can be done.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that a failure to get the withdrawal deal through could lead to a hard Brexit or a fresh border in Ireland.

Mr Donohoe said the challenges of Brexit also required that the current talks with Fianna Fáil over the confidence and supply deal needed to wrap up soon.

He said this was in “the best interests of the country”.

Fianna Fáil will put no deadline on the talks or give a commitment to continue the support pact until at least a full review is complete.

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