No-deal Brexit would cause major disruption for Irish economy - Coveney

Tánaiste issues stark warning to businesses and says political structures will be strained

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney appealed for politicians on all sides to work together  on Brexit.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney appealed for politicians on all sides to work together on Brexit.

 

A no-deal Brexit would mean a “fundamental disruption” to how the all-island economy functions, and would put strain on both trade and the political structures that underpin it, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said.

Mr Coveney was speaking on his way into a Cabinet meeting where he will present Ministers with three Brexit memos, including a revised contingency action plan which will be published later on Tuesday.

The contingency plan, about 100-pages long, is an update of the plan published last December before the previous Brexit deadline of March 29th.

It will cover preparations in about 20 areas, including aviation, road haulage, retail, tourism and medicines. There will also be a memo describing preparations at ports and airports.

However, Mr Coveney said that despite “enormous” preparation, there was no certainty that the outcome is “going to be okay” for Ireland.

“There has been an enormous amount of work put in place to prepare us for all Brexit scenarios, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be okay,” he said.

Risk of no deal

“A no-deal Brexit will be very challenging. It will put huge strain on certain sectors of the economy. It will perhaps be most damaging for Northern Ireland.

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“We want to work to ensure a no-deal doesn’t happen, but we have to prepare for that scenario, and we have to face up to the ugly truths of what it means, in terms of the imposition of tariffs on this island, and the imposition of non-tariff trade barrier on this island also.

“It will be a fundamental disruption to how the all-island economy functions today in such a seamless way.

“It will put strain and stress on not only that trade but the political systems that back it up too. That is the risk of no-deal that people need to understand in very blunt terms, because it is the truth and we shouldn’t sugar-coat it.”

Mr Coveney had stark words also for the business community, appealing to exporters and entrepreneurs who may have eased off on Brexit preparations following the extension of Article 50 until October 31st to once again make them the priority.

“At the end of March there was an extension of six months and some people on the back of that who had focused so intensively on Brexit took the foot of the accelerator,” he said.

“That needs to end now. We need to get the country collectively ready for all potential Brexit outcomes.

“The Government will do its part. The State agencies are doing their part, and we will continue that across the summer, but others need to do it too.

“If you’re running a business and you trade with the UK – if you’re not ready for Brexit –you need to think about how to get ready; who you should be talking to; what advice is there; what support is there from the Government because a lot of support is there.”

Complexity

Mr Coveney said the Government was as prepared as it can be at this point, but that there is more work to do.

He highlighted “trying to deal with this real complexity with on the one had protecting Ireland’s place in the EU single market and customs union – and of course protecting the single market and customs union – and at the same time in a no-deal scenario ensuring we don’t create security risk in the context of the north-south relationships on this island.”

Mr Coveney appealed for politicians on all sides of the political spectrum to work together in relation to Brexit, and added that due to the “confusion and uncertainty” emanating from London, the threat of a no-deal Brexit is now “significant”.

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