Thursday, 11 July 2019
Brexit Contingency Action Plan: Statements
That is good because it is vitally important to ensure that small businesses are ready and capable of dealing with this in order to continue to trade in the way in which they have. They must be made ready to get over any difficulties that will arise.
With regard to much of the talk we have heard about a no-deal Brexit, I wish I had the Minister's faith in our so-called European partners and in how they will go along with this. I believe that it is only when it comes down to the last half hour or ten or 15 minutes that Europe will become focused and try to make a deal. While everything is holding up well now, this is because we are not yet facing into the jaws of a deal. It is when it comes down to the last half hour that things will happen. Europe will make its deal at that stage but it will be too late for us to deal with it.
Deputy Boyd Barrett mentioned the Mercosur deal. This basically amounts to cars for cows. That is the reality of the situation; Irish cattle are being sacrificed for the sake of German cars. When it comes down to it, will ensuring access to the UK for German cars be the deciding factor when making agreements on our Border? I am sorry but I do not have the Tánaiste's blind never-ending faith in our so-called European partners. I believe they will make their decisions based on their own needs when it comes down to it. That will be very difficult for us; there is no doubt about it. We will have to manage our way through that. Based on what has been reported in the newspapers, it seems the Tánaiste is also starting to see that. His commentary has changed in recent times. He has been promising to protect the Single Market while insisting that there will be no border checks, but there will be border checks. That has to happen. The Tánaiste will now have to change his tune in that regard. I believe there probably will not be border checks and that there will not be a complete crash-out. That will be even more difficult for the Tánaiste and for us, because we are going to be sacrificed on the altar of a deal. That will be a problem. I do not know how we will deal with it but it will have to be done.
Allowing for that, we will also have to look at how to protect our citizens who live in the Six Counties. That will be vitally important. I have never bought into the idea that the EU is vital for peace in Ireland. I do not remember it being an integral part of negotiations on the peace process. Regardless of what happens within the Union, the peace process in Ireland should be able to continue. We should be able to negotiate and to maintain the Border as it is. We have to look after our own interests and make sure that we do so in the future as well.
There are no conclusions coming out of what I have said but, much of the time, no conclusions come out of these discussions anyway.
It seems to be the most discussed issue in the Dáil Chamber. Until we see what type of Brexit there will be, we will be unable to focus on what needs to be done for the future. I do not believe we will find out whether the Brits are going to crash out until we reach the last 30 or 60 minutes of the negotiations.