Brexit backstop: No ‘blurring of lines’ will be accepted

The Taoiseach’s comments following his conversation with the British Prime Minister earlier today has prompted concern from Lisa Chambers relating to the watertight nature of any Brexit backstop agreement.

Commenting on the matter, the Fianna Fail spokesperson on Brexit said she is concerned that An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s comments mean that the backstop, which is supposed to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland in any circumstance, is not watertight.

Watertight

Her comments follow a statement from Varadkar, in which he “indicated openness to the possibility of a review mechanism for the backstop”, according to the Mayo TD.

Deputy Chambers explained: “Last December the Taoiseach and the Tanaiste hailed the agreement on the backstop as ‘cast-iron’ and ‘bullet-proof’ – but today the Taoiseach said that he is open to the possibility of a review of the backstop being included in the final deal.

I am very worried that the backstop is not as watertight as has been previously indicated.

“Moreover, a review raises the prospect of the backstop being time-limited.”

The Brexit spokesperson said that this is a “significant and potentially hazardous change in direction”, adding that the Taoiseach needs to clarify his comments further in the Dail tomorrow (November 6).

“We are at a very crucial stage in the negotiations and it is essential that Ireland’s unique concerns are not cast aside to get a withdrawal deal across the line.

‘Blurring of lines’

“The Taoiseach and Tanaiste have repeatedly said that there will be no hard border on the island of Ireland and that the backstop cannot be time-limited.

“The Irish people have taken them at their word and will not accept any blurring of those lines at this late stage,” deputy Chambers warned.