Leo jpg

Leo to UK: You’ll pay dearly

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, here speaking at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence in Dublin’s Phoenix Park during recent July 4 celebrations. RollingNews.ie photo.


By Anthony Neeson

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has predicted that the UK will face decades of economic decline after Brexit.

He said that over time the UK will be “overtaken by lots of countries in Asia.”

And he added: “I think that one of the difficulties for Britain is that they’re struggling to cope with the fact that as a country and an economy they’re not as important in the world as they used to be.”

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The taoiseach’s comments come as a new Irish government document says that a no-deal Brexit will see checks on imports from the UK – but not at the border.

A Brexit planning document warns: “The impact of tariffs, and the customs and sanitary and phytosanitary requirements and associated checks necessary to preserve Ireland’s full participation in the Single Market and Customs Union, would be significant for the operation of the all island economy.”

The document also warns: “A no-deal Brexit will have profound implication for Ireland on all levels.

“These implications involve severe macroeconomics, trade and sectorial challenges both in the immediate term and in the longer term. Addressing those challenges requires difficult and significant choices of a practical, strategic and political nature.”

The document says a no-deal Brexit will bring significant damage to the North and South.

“A no-deal Brexit will be highly disruptive and will have profound political, economic and legal implications, first and foremost for the UK, including most significantly Northern Ireland, as well as having significant impacts on Ireland and the rest of the EU.

“In a no-deal scenario, it will be impossible for the UK to maintain the current seamless arrangements with the EU across the full range of sectors, from justice and security cooperation, to transport connectivity, to trade flows and supply chains.

“A no-deal Brexit will be an unprecedented event, bringing with it disruption and severe negative economic impacts.”

The document also warns that a no-deal Brexit “poses risks for the Good Friday Agreement and raises profound political challenges and lasting societal impacts for Northern Ireland.”

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Varadkar’s assessment of the UK’s post-Brexit prospects would appear to clash with those of U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton.

Before President Trump’s recent visit to Britain Bolton told the Daily Telegraph newspaper that Brexit offered the opportunity for Britain to become a “strong and independent country” that will have a positive impact on the rest of the world.

Bolton described the outcome of the 2016 Brexit referendum as a “triumph of democracy.”

“And he backed Mr. Trump’s pledge that Washington will negotiate a trade deal that is mutually beneficial to the U.S. and Britain,” the Telegraph reported.

Such a deal, however, is certain to run into strong headwinds from Congress and Irish American activists if Brexit results in a hard border on the island of Ireland and perils for the Good Friday Agreement.