EU bodies 'must accept some of the blame for Brexit' says Fianna Fáil TD

Dara Calleary TD

The European Commission and Parliament must accept some of the blame for Brexit, the Dáil has heard.

Speaking during a discussion on the implications of Brexit, Fianna Fáil’s Dara Calleary told the Dáil: “I was struck all week watching the response of the commission and the parliament to see that they were blaming Britain, politicians and everybody, but they need to look to themselves too, particularly in their engagement with this process over the next weeks and months.

“They need to reflect on themselves and on how they have walked away and lost that sense of mission.”

He questioned whether the Irish would now vote to stay in the EU in the event of a referendum here.

Mr Calleary told the Dáil: “We have to look at our own hearts and ask if there was a referendum here in the morning in terms of our membership how would it go because I don’t think we can give a guarantee in this country like we used to.

“I firmly believe the European institutions walked away from us in our time of need.”

But the Mayo TD added that we tend to “goldplate” regulations that come from Brussels and blame Brussels. “We too blame Europe for many of our ills.”

A number of TDs raised the importance of cross-border trade and highlighted that this along with the border between the Republic of Ireland and the North must be prioritised in all Brexit negotiations.

Sinn Féin’s Louise O’Reilly said Brexit is not just a British issue or “an issue that will affect just the six counties; it will affect people in Louth, Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal and beyond”.

Sinn Féin’s Louise O’Reilly
Sinn Féin’s Louise O’Reilly

However, speaking earlier in the day Finance Minister Michael Noonan said a hard border is “not a runner”.

Fergus O’Dowd told the Dáil that Ireland should press hard to secure some of the EU agencies currently based in the UK which will have to relocate when Britain leaves.

“When section 50 is applied by the United Kingdom, the Government here should concentrate on recognising that fact and seek to have European agencies such as the European Medicine Agency and any other agencies that may be based in England to relocate here.

“That is an action plan that is needed and we should be ready to do that,” Mr O’Dowd said.

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