Wednesday, 13 March 2019
Recent Developments on Brexit: Statements
Bernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
This is a time of sadness in the sense that the people who charted the course for Brexit in the first instance had a lot of ideas two or three years ago as to the benefits of leaving the EU. They chanted them regularly and trumpeted the benefits of exiting in a hurry. They have now gone silent. There is no longer as much of that any more but we should be very wary and cautious about being stampeded by some of the most recent announcements, particularly with regard to trade barriers and tariffs. These are meant to soften us up a bit like a fellow being softened up before the football match, which was an old-fashioned idea that sometimes worked. The aspect on which we need to concentrate is that we must be cautious and careful. This morning's announcement was a peculiar one in that it did not do anything to help our colleagues in Northern Ireland. In fact, the reverse was the case. It could have helped because it does prove that it is possible to do the things that people said could not be done. The Government and the Opposition should keep their powder dry and remain on course.
The European Union has done us proud. As part of the European Union, the United Kingdom has stood its ground, as have we, and we have no option except to do so in the future. The saddest part of all this is to see a British Prime Minister humiliated by her own Parliament, sent back and forth to Brussels to negotiate something MPs had no intention of approving in the first place, and they knew that from the beginning. From here on, whatever must be done should be done when it needs to be done. We should not pre-empt anything. We should not offer hostages in any shape or form. We should be ready for the worst but, if the best happens, avail of that too.