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Brexit shambles endangers Irish economy

Tánaiste Simon Coveney briefing reporters on the latest Brexit developments outside Government Buildings in Dublin. photo.


By Anthony Neeson

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit withdrawal plans are in disarray after she suffered another devastating defeat in the House of Commons last night.

Mrs. May’s withdrawal deal with the EU went down by 149 votes.

The vote followed the Prime Minister’s eleventh hour dash to Strasbourg the previous evening when she signed off on an agreement with the EU, where she argued that she had secured legal changes to the Irish backstop.

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However, it was clear from mid-day Tuesday that Mrs. May’s deal was in trouble when the Attorney General told MPs that the UK would have “no internationally lawful means” of leaving the backstop without EU agreement.

The DUP joined with the Conservative Party Euro sceptics to help vote down Mrs. May's plan, however, with Brexit day – March 29 – only two weeks away, the House of Commons will face two further votes tonight and Thursday evening, which will see MPs voting on a no-deal Brexit and possibly delaying the UK’s exit.

This morning the British government published its plans for a no-deal Brexit. That would see Irish goods crossing the border into Northern Ireland not facing tariffs in a no-deal scenario.

However, products from the Irish Republic entering the rest of the UK would face high tariffs on food products.

The plan also envisages no checks on the border in Ireland.

Responding, Tánaiste Simon Coveney said: “The announcement by the British government of a tariff regime has very devastating implications for Irish farming, particularly in the beef, diary, poultry and pork sector.

“It would devastate the rural Irish economy, and up to €800 million would be the cost of agriculture alone.”