Declan Breathnach TD
Louth (and East Meath)

25th May, 2018

Buck stops at Brexit Backstop – Breathnach

– any plans to introduce customs technology on the currently invisible border between North and South would be dangerous on all sorts of terms –

Fianna Fáil TD for Louth and East Meath Declan Breathnach spoke in the Dáil on a motion on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and said that the UK needs to be clear on the customs issue before the next EU Summit at the end of June.

“Theresa May sold a fairytale vision of a post Brexit Britain to her subjects. A Britain fully in charge of their own destiny. A Britain who would not have to listen to authority. Who would not have to abide by any of the rules coming at them from the EU. But unlike most fairytales, this story does not come with a “happy ever after” ending, said Breathnach.

“Theresa May‘s authority will be under scrutiny next month when the Brexit legislation comes back before Parliament in advance of the EU summit. Her position may be untenable if she cannot control the opposing views within her own party.”

“She needs to be very clear on the customs issue before the summit at the end of June and for our Tánaiste in his negotiations, the buck stops at the backstop and we need to hold fast on that being contextualized legally.

“Just this week a blunt warning issued from the EU to the UK that it cannot solve the Irish border issue by making the so-called backstop guarantee on avoiding a hard border a UK-wide solution. Any backstop must be specific to Northern Ireland only.

“Any plans to introduce customs technology on the currently invisible border between North and South would be dangerous on all sorts of terms. This would represent the re-opening of a gaping wound. The negative effects of Brexit are already evident in the North, with the creation of a new divide. The peace process is very fragile. 20 years on from the Good Friday Agreement, the persistence of sectarianism is still very visible.

“Even if there are no physical tariff customs, there is still alignment with EU regulations in relation to fresh food produce to contend with. Economists from the Central Bank have said that such red tape and delays in getting produce across the border could reduce trade between the United Kingdom and Ireland by up to 10% after Brexit costing our economy millions.

“We need strong leadership to prevent Brexit exploding from a vote of political vandalism to an act of geo political mutilation. That’s what we need to give this story a happy ever after ending.” concluded Breathnach.
-Ends-

Notes to Editor: Speaking notes from Dáil speech attached.

Johanna Walsh, Office of Declan Breathnach T.D., Leinster House, Dublin 2 (Declan – 087 2697638)