Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Questions (86)

Thomas P. Broughan


86. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to new proposals from the British Government regarding customs checks on trade between Ireland and Britain; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21021/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I understand that the Deputy is referring to the proposals released by the British Government in March 2019 in respect of arrangements in a no deal Brexit scenario. The Government has analysed the detail of the UK proposals and their potential impact, together with our EU partners.

Any tariff regime would be extremely serious for Irish exporters, particularly for agri-food exports. That is why we have worked so hard to secure the Withdrawal Agreement that would enable both sides to negotiate a future relationship agreement with the aim of avoiding tariffs and quotas. We remain firmly of the view that ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement will enable both sides to negotiate a future relationship agreement avoiding tariffs and quotas.

We welcome the decision of the April European Council to grant an extension, at the UK's request, to the Article 50 process.

However, given the ongoing political uncertainty in London, the risk of no deal has not been entirely averted. Responsibility for avoiding a no deal scenario now lies firmly with the UK and Westminster. We hope that the ongoing cross-party talks between the UK Government and the Official Opposition will lead to a positive outcome.

Our core objective continues to be to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, protecting the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement and safeguarding the integrity of the Single Market and Customs Union. Those objectives remain constant, including in a no deal scenario. In all scenarios, as co-guarantors, the Irish and UK Governments will continue to have obligations under the Good Friday agreement to ensure peace and stability in Northern Ireland.