Micheál Martin, leader of opposition party Fianna Fáil, launched a scathing attack on Leo Varadkar on Monday and accused his Government of failing to tell the truth. He claimed that Ireland is not ready for a no deal Brexit and said the Government needed to be upfront with people about the implications of a hard Brexit on October 31. Mr Martin, whose party ensures Mr Varadkar stays in power, also accused the Government of lying about the need for customs checks at the border in the event of a no deal.
Speaking at the Fianna Fáil think-in in Gorey, Co Wexford, Mr Martin said: “I don’t think the government were telling us the truth last year when they adamantly said that there would be no checkpoints if there was a no deal Brexit.
“Simon Coveney said it, the Taoiseach himself said it in the Dáil and elsewhere.
“They were emphatic about there being no border come what may, that there would be no checks.
“That has changed in the last two weeks and the Tánaiste has said there will be checks somewhere and the Taoiseach has now also said there will be checks.
“So that is a completely different position to that articulated last January and [in] May 2018.”
The opposition leader said that Ireland was not ready for a no deal Brexit on the original Brexit deadline of March 31 and he said the country remains unprepared for the extended date.
He said: “The government now admit that we weren’t ready on the 31 March and it seems to me we’re not ready either on the 31 October if a no-detail was to materialise.”
“That is why I have asked the government to be totally up front with people, to provide all of the information and all of the details to the people in terms of what a no-deal Brexit would entail and the implications of a no-deal Brexit for the economy and for whatever checks the government are planning with the European Commission.”
The Irish politician said he supported a Northern Ireland-only backstop, something the EU is keen for the Boris Johnson to back.
But this evening Mr Johnson met with DUP leader Arlene Foster in crunch Brexit talks and following the meeting Ms Foster said the Prime Minister rejected a Northern Ireland-only backstop.
She said: “The Prime Minister rejected a Northern Ireland-only backstop in a letter to Donald Tusk on 19 August.
“It is undemocratic and unconstitutional and would place a tariff border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom. That would be unacceptable.”
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Mr Martin’s criticism comes after a leading British professor revealed that Ireland would be “completely screwed” if Britain leaves the EU without a deal.
Professor Simon Heffer warned Mr Varadkar that he was being used by the bloc to punish the UK.
He said that Brussels would sacrifice Ireland’s economy in order to maintain a hardline EU stance on Brexit.
The British academic warned that Ireland would face huge financial instability if Britain leaves at the end of October without a deal.
Professor Heffer told Sky News Australia: “Theresa May should have told the Irish that they were being weaponised by Brussels over this backstop question.
“Ireland, which sends 57 percent of its goods to us or through us, will be completely screwed by a no deal.
“They will have serious problems with unemployment and growth.”
Micheál Martin, leader of opposition party Fianna Fáil, launched a scathing attack on Leo Varadkar on Monday and accused his Government of failing to tell the truth. He claimed that Ireland is not ready for a no deal Brexit and said the Government needed to be upfront with people about the implications of a hard Brexit on October 31.
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