Time to prepare for ‘brace yourself’ Brexit, Green leader says

Paschal Donohoe says much work done on many possible outcomes of UK leaving EU

Green party leader Eamon Ryan said it was time to look at the ‘emergency, brace yourself, we are about to crash’ Brexit scenario. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

Green party leader Eamon Ryan said it was time to look at the ‘emergency, brace yourself, we are about to crash’ Brexit scenario. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

 

The Government has been warned that it needs to start preparing for the prospect of the UK crashing out of the European Union without agreement.

Green party leader Eamon Ryan said it was time to look at the “emergency, brace yourself, we are about to crash” scenario and to include all the political parties in this.

However, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe told him that contingency planning for all potential outcomes had been done. This included financial and banking, his areas of responsibility, and they had “much work done” on a scenario where the UK crashed out.

Mr Ryan said the British government seemed “completely incapable of addressing the challenge”. He asked if Mr Donohoe and British chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond had started working on plans for the “absolute economic carnage” arising from a no-deal Brexit.

He said it was “time that the Government and all the parties sat down about this, perhaps in private as some of these matters are difficult to discuss publicly”.

Mr Donohoe said he would speak to Tánaiste Simon Coveney about how details of the planning could be shared and that there had already been sessions with stakeholders including political parties.

He pointed out that Mr Coveney was in London on Thursday meeting Mr Hammond and cabinet office minister David Lidington to review where negotiations stand and to again articulate Ireland interests.

Mr Coveney’s spokesman said the Tánaiste was “frank, consistent and clear” in setting out the Government’s view that there needed to be progress by the next EU summit at the end of June on a legally operable text on the “backstop” option that avoids a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Mr Ryan said he agreed with the strategy of “holding to no hard border but I am concerned that we are putting ourselves at the epicentre of a bigger problem”, that the British government could not agree on anything about the future relationship of the UK and Europe.

He said the “Tories want to have their cake and eat it but will not now be able to get it”.