Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Questions (100)

Micheál Martin


100. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans regarding the way in which the single market will be protected. [37404/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

Among the priorities of the Government’s approach to the Brexit negotiations is the need to protect the Good Friday Agreement and protect the EU’s Single Market and Ireland’s place it.  The ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement remains the best plan to deliver these twin objectives.  Only the backstop provides an all-weather legal guarantee through alignment with those rules of the Single Market and Customs Union necessary to avoid a hard border and protect the Single Market and Ireland’s place in it. This is why the backstop remains an absolutely necessary part of the Withdrawal Agreement.  

However, given the current political uncertainty in London, there is a significant risk of a no deal Brexit.   In the absence of a Withdrawal Agreement, there are no easy solutions. We continue our work with the European Commission to address the shared twin objectives of protecting the Good Friday Agreement and protecting the Single Market and Ireland’s place in it. 

Any solutions agreed will be clearly sub-optimal to the backstop. A no deal Brexit would have far-reaching consequences on the island of Ireland, with a particular impact on North-South trade, which could no longer be a frictionless as it is today.  The impact of tariffs, and of the customs and SPS requirements and associated checks necessary to preserve the integrity of the Single Market and Ireland's full participation in it, would be significant for the operation of the all-island economy, with additional costs and disruption for businesses throughout the island.

The Government will continue its efforts to protect the Good Friday Agreement and the gains of the peace process – this will never be in question. Similarly, our place in the Single Market is at the core of our economic model, and will remain so.