The Government is continuing to prepare for a hard Brexit with plans due to be published later this week.
Tánaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney has said a no-deal Brexit will “put everybody under huge pressure, nobody wants it, everybody loses in that scenario” but it now has to be planned for.
“A no-deal Brexit is going to challenge everybody, Ireland, Britain and the rest of the EU, it won’t be easy to manage that but we will put mitigation measures in place to protect Ireland as best we can,” he said.
Mr Coveney is to provide an update on contingencies to the Brexit Stakeholders’ Forum on Thursday and a December Brexit update will also be published the same day.
The EU Commission is expected to publish details of a legislative programme in the case of a hard Brexit on Wednesday.
Mr Coveney doesn’t think the Dáil will be forced to return early after Christmas to pass emergency Brexit legislation but warned such actions may be required early in the new year.
“We will, I suspect, if we continue to move towards a no-deal Brexit scenario, we will undoubtedly have to introduce legislation quickly,” he told RTÉ’s The Week in Politics.
While the Government has already revealed plans to ramp up checks at ports and airports, the Tánaiste moved to play down fears that the supply of drugs and other medicines will be impacted if the UK crashes out of the EU.
We currently have a rolling supply where we have medicines that are in stock for eight to 12 weeks and we will work with EU colleagues to make sure that in a no-deal scenario that medical supplies will not be interrupted. But that’s one of many areas where we need to work collectively to ensure that we can manage a no-deal Brexit which will not be easy.
Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern hit out at Theresa May’s handling of Brexit from start to finish.
Mr Ahern said the suggestions made by Ms May to EU leaders in Brussels this week were “absolutely crazy” and detailed a litany of “terrible mistakes” she has made during her tenure as British prime minister.
Mr Ahern also warned that the EU “cannot give an inch” on the backstop.
“The backstop has to remain in place if we want a frictionless border, it’s not something we threw in just to have a word in the game.”