Financial 'sweeteners' in event of no-deal Brexit not of interest, says Tánaiste

Financial "sweeteners" which could be offered to Dublin to pay for extra costs and infrastructure involved in carrying out customs checks between Ireland and the North in the event of a no-deal Brexit are of no interest to the Government with Tánaiste Simon Coveney insisting that the issue is "not about money."

Financial 'sweeteners' in event of no-deal Brexit not of interest, says Tánaiste

Financial "sweeteners" which could be offered to Dublin to pay for extra costs and infrastructure involved in carrying out customs checks between Ireland and the North in the event of a no-deal Brexit are of no interest to the Government with Tánaiste Simon Coveney insisting that the issue is "not about money."

Speaking at the opening of a new Enable Ireland centre in Cork the Tánaiste emphasised that the aim of the Government was to preserve normalcy in the North.

"This is not about money and if people still think it is then they are really not plugged in to the Irish mindset or to the history of this island. This is not about money or sweeteners or being paid off or anything like that.

"We are trying to ensure that there is no prospect of the imposition of future border infrastructure in this island between North and South because of the corrosive impact on relationships and politics that that would have by fundamentally disrupting the all island economy which in many ways has been the re-inforcer of peace and normality on this island for the last 21 years."

A report in today's edition of the London Times newspaper claims Michael Gove's Brexit Operations Committee has compiled a list of dossier of pressure points that could be imposed on Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

These would include warning that Ireland could suffer a shortage of medicines, the potential loss of fishing rights off the North, the disruption of the movement of horses between Ireland and the UK and traffic back ups at Holyhead in Wales from customs checks.

Addressing such reports the Tánaiste said that there was "nothing new here for us. "

"We've been talking about the downside of a no-deal Brexit for many, many months. If a no-deal Brexit were to happen, it'll be a lose, lose, lose for everybody - for the UK, for Ireland, for the EU.

That's why we're so focused on trying to resolve differences and trying to get a Brexit deal agreed so that we can move on to the next stage of Brexit in a controlled and managed way and avoid an awful lot of the disruption that will undoubtedly flow from a no-deal.

The Tánaiste insists is no pressure coming from other EU capitals on Ireland.

"All of the pressure is in London right now and that is where it should be because it is a British Prime Minister who has decided to ask for a significant change to a withdrawal agreement which all 28 Governments in the EU including the British Government signed up to.

"He is asking for change. We are happy to facilitate that as long as we can find a way of protecting the core issues that the last withdrawal agreement protected. IE on the Irish border."

The Tánaiste said that we have to ensure that we can look people in the eye and honestly say to them that they are not going to face the prospect of fundamental disruption to an all island economy through the re-imposition of border infrastructure.

"Whether that is customs infrastructure, whether it is SPS infrastructure or regulatory checks. That is what the back stop does. It solves that problem at least on a temporary basis until we can find permanent solutions."

Mr Coveney says a deal can be made and that it is not "Mission Impossible."

"Last week I was asked whether Brexit being agreed before the end of October was Mission Impossible. I don't believe it is. I think this can be done.

"But I think there needs to be an evolution of the British Prime Minister's proposal from last week particularly in the area of customs and around consent and consultation for institutions in Northern Ireland. I think if we can work on those two areas we can get a deal and certainly that will be our focus this week.

I think a no-deal is particularly difficult for Northern Ireland but it is challenging for the Republic of Ireland too and certainly for the UK as a whole. Our focus this week in particular, because it is really coming to a head now, is to work with Michel Barnier task force and obviously to work with our counterparts in the UK to see if we can find a way forward.

The Tánaiste added that they had made it very clear last week that Mr Johnson's proposals were a step in the right direction.

"But particularly on customs there is a need for further developments of that proposal in order to get a deal done this week. We want to support that and I will probably be in Brussels tomorrow evening to speak to Michel Barnier about that."

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