Dáil debates

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Ceisteanna - Questions

Departmental Priorities

3:30 pm

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
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I agree with others that the major social issues facing the Taoiseach, the Government and all of us are housing, homelessness and the health crisis but I want to deal with another issue, namely, the approach of this Government to Brexit. Most of us were a little bit taken aback last week when the Taoiseach told the House that it was his view that sufficient progress would likely be made in advance of the December European Council meeting to allow matters to move on to the second phase of negotiations. The Taoiseach is the first prime minister of the EU27 to voice such a view and, in light of the ongoing and accelerating chaos of the British Government, that is a surprising view. What will the Taoiseach's approach be, strategically, to the next European Council meeting? Is what he said still his view and if he is still optimistic, can he let us know the cause of his optimism? If, as he said in Enniskillen, we must make preparations for the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal, what are the preparations he is making? Are contingency plans being made with Revenue? He stopped that happening earlier but is it now his view that we should recommence that process? Is it his strategic view that Ireland will not allow matters to proceed beyond phase 1 until such time as we have, in writing, a solution on the Irish Border question that meets Ireland's unique needs?