Published On: Thu, Aug 29th, 2019

Ireland panic: Varadkar minister comes clean over no deal fears – ‘Very difficult’ | World | News

Helen McEntee said the Prime Minister’s decision to thwart attempts to block no deal has left Dublin in a “very difficult situation”. She warned that with suspending the House of Commons means a “no-deal scenario is becoming more and more possible”. She went on to signal that Dublin could be enticed to consider a number of changes to the controversial Northern Ireland backstop but would not accept Mr Johnson’s demand to abolish the measure altogether.

Speaking to RTÉ, Ms McEntee said: “We’re in a very difficult situation with the House of Commons being suspended for five weeks.

“A no-deal scenario is becoming more and more possible.”

She said Dublin and the European Commission continue to work on arrangements to prevent customs checks on the border in the event of no deal.

However, she suggested the finer details would not be revealed to the public until days before Britain is due to quit the bloc.

“This is something we are still working through with the Commission,” she said. “We are not hiding anything from people.”

She revealed the plan would be made public in the “coming weeks”, adding: “It has to be in the coming weeks because we are nine weeks from the Brexit deadline.

“We are being as clear as we can at this moment.

“As soon as we know what the outcome is going to be, and I’m sure it will be a lot clearer in four, five or six weeks, depending on what happens in the UK.”

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“What we are now being asked to do is not renegotiate or change the backstop,” she added.

“We are being asked to remove it and replace it with nothing. We cannot accept that given what we are trying to protect.”

Ms McEntee, however, said that technological solutions favoured by Brexiteers aren’t sufficient to replace the backstop.

She said Brussels and London had already discussed the possibility of trusted-trade schemes and checks away from the border, and not reached a satisfactory conclusion.

“It might sound as if technology can be a solution for the border, but you can’t open a truck and find whether an animal has a disease through technology,” she said.

She went on to insist that Ireland would not allow itself to separated from the EU’s single market in order to maintain a frictionless border.

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