Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Questions (79)

Brendan Smith


79. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the discussions being held with his counterparts in Northern Ireland and the UK in relation to the need to minimise disruption to the agrifood sector both North and South in the context of Brexit in view of the interdependence of the sector on an all-island basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28182/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Government believes strongly that the best way forward in dealing with the UK's decision to leave the EU is for the UK to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement.  Ireland and the EU are consistent and clear that the Withdrawal Agreement cannot be renegotiated, as reiterated again by President Tusk after the European Council last week. 

In the meantime, the Government has agreed that we will continue to plan for all scenarios, including the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. 

Ireland and the EU are at one with regard to our determination to do all we can to avoid the need for a border and to protect the peace process. Discussions are continuing with the European Commission on how to achieve, in a no-deal scenario, our shared objectives of protecting the integrity of the Single Market and Ireland’s place in it, and avoiding any physical infrastructure on the island of Ireland.

The EU negotiates on behalf of the Member States, including Ireland, and, therefore, my officials do not negotiate on Brexit issues with UK counterparts. My officials continue to talk to their Northern Ireland counterparts on day-to-day matters to ensure that the agri trade continues to operate efficiently on the island of Ireland.