Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (2146)

Jackie Cahill


2146. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to ensure the flow of milk on the island in all Brexit scenarios. [34419/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

It remains the Government’s view that the best way to ensure an orderly withdrawal, protect the Good Friday Agreement and avoid a hard border is to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement, including the backstop. It is the only solution currently on the table that delivers the outcomes that everyone, including the UK, wants to achieve.

In the absence of the Withdrawal Agreement, there are no easy solutions. As the Action Plan says, “there should be no illusion – a no deal Brexit would result in far-reaching change on the island of Ireland”.

The Government is working closely with the European Commission to meet the shared twin objectives of protecting the Single Market and Ireland’s place in it, and avoiding a hard border, including physical infrastructure. This work is looking at necessary checks to preserve Ireland’s full participation in the Single Market and Customs Union.

In respect of imports of products of animal origin (including milk) from Northern Ireland, this Department has no plans for Border Inspection Posts on the border. In respect of exports of products of animal origin (including milk) to Northern Ireland, procedures will be determined by the UK which has set out its position in a series of Preparedness Notices. The notice referring to the importation of animals and animal products from the EU to the UK, last updated on 17th April 2019, is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/import-of-products-animals-food-and-feed-system.

Ireland and the EU are at one on this. The EU has been clear that it is determined to do all it can, deal or no-deal, to avoid the need for a border and to protect the peace process.

Both the EU and the UK Government agree that no one has yet come up with any alternatives aimed at avoiding a hard border that are better than those set out in the Withdrawal Agreement.

The backstop remains the only viable solution on the table that avoids any physical infrastructure and related checks and controls, preserves the all-island economy, and fully protects the Good Friday Agreement, as well the integrity of the EU Single Market and Ireland’s place in it.