Tánaiste warns of no-deal Brexit as negotiations stall

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald critical of Britain’s ‘Ireland last’ policy

Tánaiste Simon Coveney has warned that a no-deal scenario is now being seriously contemplated within the European Unoin as Brexit talks stall.

Mr Coveney told RTÉ's Morning Ireland that Britain risks being unable to withdraw smoothly from the European Union.

“We had asked for and looked for significant progress in June. The British government have been unable to deliver on that,” he said.

“That is frustrating for everybody but if anything the negotiations need to intensify, particularly on the Irish backstop element of the withdrawal agreement.”

Mr Coveney added: “But let’s be very clear, there will be no withdrawal agreement, no transition agreement and no managed Brexit if the British government do not follow through on their clear commitments in writing to Ireland and the whole EU.”

The prospect of a no-deal scenario was being contemplated within the EU and that the negotiations had increased the solidarity between Ireland and the other EU countries.

“We have been reassured over and over again that Ireland will not be left isolated here.”

Mr Coveney said the uncertainty was set to continue for now for people in the border counties.

The prospect of a no-deal scenario was being contemplated within the EU. “This is a question many people are asking,” he said.

Later on RTÉ's Today with Sean O'Rourke show, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said that during a conversation with British prime minister Teresa May in Downing Street on Tuesday, she had emphasised that Brexit was not of Ireland's making and that the people of Northern Ireland had voted to remain.

“I told her they were playing for time, that they are playing games, being tactical, running down the clock.”

Ms McDonald said it was now “crunch time”. She added that it was clear to her that as far as the British government is concerned there is a policy of “Ireland last”, which she described as “ very dangerous.”

The last thing any one wants is a disastrous exit, she said. “We need to ensure that Ireland is protected. That’s our first duty.

“Britain is gameplaying. They need to be called out.”

Ms McDonald said the June meeting must remain ‘D Day’. It is a mistake to muddy the water or to facilitate any strategy to delay.

“We can’t wish these issues away.”