The Republic of Ireland is starting to feel the pressure of Brexit as a no-deal result becomes more and more likely.
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With talk of 50-55,000 jobs being at risk in the Republic of Ireland should the UK withdraw from the European Union (EU) on WTO terms, the Irish government has said that a no deal would cause far reaching changes on the island or Ireland.
In its latest contingency report on Brexit, the Irish government has warned that the current frictionless nature of North-South trade would be affected and that the imposition of tariffs and customs checks would cause more cost and disruption for business.
The contingency report also talks about the profound effect that a no deal would have on the Republic and the impact during the first year would be very damaging it says.
Further, the report says that the land bridge across the UK between the Republic and the rest of the EU would be subject to severe delays.
A report in Bloomberg had earlier reported that:
“Ireland is set to acknowledge publicly for the first time the need to set up checks at or around its border with Northern Ireland in a no-deal Brexit scenario, people familiar with the matter said.”
But the Irish government has said this was incorrect. With the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, reported by newstalk.com as saying:
“The truth is that we will need to take some action somewhere in our economy to ensure that we are protecting the integrity of the products that are then going to be sold on out of Ireland.
“We are not going to put checks on the border or close to it.
“What is under discussion, and has been for a number of weeks now with the European Commission, is how can we in a real and verifiable way, ensure that the integrity of the Single Market is protected and that we don’t have essentially an unprotected back door through Northern Ireland into the EU Single Market.”
One assumes the Irish Republic will find out the real priorities of Brussels with regard to the Good Friday Agreement compared to Single Market integrity in the event of a no deal.
An MEP for The Brexit Party, Brian Monteith, told France 24 that he thinks it will dawn on the EU that a no deal is worse for them and that they will agree to changes to the Withdrawal Agreement that will effectively throw the Republic of Ireland under the bus.
He told the France 24 interviewer:
“It would be far worse for the EU, because the UK is the EU’s largest market and there will be a reaction.
“Look at Ireland, Ireland’s manufacturing and agricultural not only is the UK’s second-largest market after the United States, but so much of its market exports go through the UK.
“So there are real problems for EU countries that have to be faced up to.
“What I anticipate is that Ireland could be kicked under the bus by the EU.
“Because what it will do is seek to resolve the backstop issue.”
But he also added that just solving the backstop issue alone would not be enough for him.
On the UK parliament side, the former trade minister and co-chair of the Prosperity UK Alternative Arrangements Commission, Greg Hands, writes in the Telegraph that he and fellow Tory MP Nicky Morgan, are working hard to find something that would stop a no deal and be acceptable to all parties involved.
So, as the real prospect of a no deal raises its head, we suddenly see lots of reality checks.
All this is just more proof, if needed, that when negotiating you must always have a wide open route to walking away without making a deal. It concentrates the minds of those on the other side of the table.
Wonder how long it will be before the EU and the Republic of Ireland start thinking Gatt XXIV.