Ireland last week dismissed proposals from the British Government for alternative arrangements to the controversial Irish backstop which may cause the return of a customs border on the island after Brexit. Dublin repeatedly rejected suggestions customs checks may have to be carried out but Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe admitted the country is in talks to create “some sort of arrangement” at the border in the event of Britain quitting the European Union without a deal. BBC Today programme host Nick Robinson challenged Mr Donohoe’s position as he suggested people may see it as a “paradox”: “Can we break the code? ‘Some sort of arrangement’ means a customs check.
“It will seem like a paradox to people listening.
“What puzzles some people is they think, ‘here’s the Irish Government who doesn’t want to talk about it for reasons I understand, preparing to introduce customs checks within days in the event of a no deal Brexit.
“‘Yet it won’t agree to a deal that might introduce customs checks in months or years.’ How does that make sense?”
Ireland has long maintained they will not set up any form of checks to abide by the requirements of the Good Friday Agreement but Mr Donohoe said Dublin and Brussels have been negotiating over the type of arrangement Dublin may adopt to provide shoppers with “confidence” in Irish goods.
The Irish Finance Minister said: “What we’ve indicated is that, if we are in a no-deal Brexit setting, we’ll have to put in place some kind of arrangement to ensure we can give confidence to, for example, French shoppers that Irish lamb that is leaving Ireland is Irish lamb.
“We have to engage and we are working with the European Commission on what those could be that will give confidence regarding the future of our economy.”
He continued: “The arrangements we are talking about of having to put in place in a no deal setting would have serious and negative consequences for our island and our economy.
“In the documentation and the updates that we have provided to our country, we’ve indicated that the things we might have to consider doing in a no deal setting would cause really serious difficulties for the movement of trade on our island, for our economy not to mention the Northern Irish economy.
“Surely, what we should be doing is spending all of our energy into trying to avoid those things happening.”
DUP leader Arlene Foster claimed Ireland’s rejection of Boris Johnson‘s deal exposed Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar’s plans to keep Northern Ireland in the customs union forever.
According to the plans, Northern Ireland would remain in the single market while leaving the customs union alongside the rest of the UK. The Northern Ireland Assembly would also get decisional power on whether to remain in the arrangement every four years.
Ms Foster said on Tuesday: “The Prime Minister’s proposals have flushed out Dublin’s real intentions to trap Northern Ireland in the EU Customs Union forever, where Dublin rather than the United Kingdom’s elected representatives would be in the driving seat
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“We will not accept any such ultimatum or outcome.”
Mr Varadkar insisted there is still time to do a deal but warned the Prime Minister’s deal does not “form the basis for deeper negotiations”.
DUP MP Sammy Wilson warned the Irish Taoiseach his party would not support plans to have Belfast being “held to ransom” over the Brexit deadlock.
Mr Wilson also sent a warning to Mr Johnson, telling him Ireland would not take financial “sweeteners” from London to ensure customs checks are carried out on the border after Brexit.
IRISH Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe was left squirming as BBC host Nick Robinson challenged him on Ireland’s plans to set up customs checks in the event of a no deal Brexit while refusing proposals for a customs border from Boris Johnson.
Ireland last week dismissed proposals from the British Government for alternative arrangements to the controversial Irish backstop which may cause the return of a customs border on the island after Brexit . Dublin repeatedly rejected suggestions customs checks may have to be carried out but Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe admitted the country is in talks to create “some sort of arrangement” at the border in the event of Britain quitting the European Union without a deal.
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