Declan Breathnach TD
Louth (and East Meath)

8th June, 2018

UK Customs Paper a fudge and British Brinkmanship at its best – Breathnach

– Michel Barnier has commented that the EU’s backstop cannot apply to the whole of the UK –

Fianna Fáil TD for Louth and East Meath Declan Breathnach has said that the EU 27 need to stand firm behind the Irish Backstop Agreement and the Irish Nation in what is British brinkmanship in relation to the Irish Border.

“Arrangements in relation to the backstop must be permanent and I am glad that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has also affirmed this.

“The EU will not agree to yet another attempt by Theresa May to cherry pick.

“Michel Barnier commented on the EU Backstop and the UK Customs Paper and said that the EU’s backstop cannot apply to the whole of the UK. The four freedoms are indivisible.

“The EU is not willing to allow the UK remain in the customs union while at the same time ditching their obligations as members of the EU.

“Theresa May has a huge problem on her hands in trying to please both sides of her cabinet. A time limit on the backstop is not acceptable to the EU or Ireland, but her pro-Brexiteer Ministers want a swift conclusion to the negotiations so that they can get going with their trade deals. Any time limit on the deal, will leave the border issue unresolved, which is just not acceptable. The biggest fudge in her Customs Paper is that it seeks to set a time limit but does not specify what that time limit is.

“The UK have a long way to go in these negotiations which are no way near a conclusion. Theresa May’s task is made all the more difficult by the leaked comments from her Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson who claimed that the border issue has been blown out of all proportion. The fact that he stated that “there are so few firms who actually use that border regularly” demonstrates just how far out of touch he is with the reality on the ground. At least Michel Barnier has visited the border region and spoken with business owners and traders and is acutely aware of what a hard border would mean for the whole of our island.

“There can be no withdrawal until all parts of the deal are agreed. It looks to me like the UK is heading for a cliff-edge no-deal Brexit – maybe they will see sense and hold a second referendum to put an end to all this madness.”

-Ends-

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

(T) 01 6183549 (Email) declan.breathnach@oireachtas.ie