Brexit committee has met just 3 times in the last year – FF

It has been revealed, in a reply to a recent parliamentary question, that the Cabinet committee on Brexit has only met three times in the last year.

As well as this, the next meeting of the committee has not yet been scheduled.

Having received the reply, Fianna Fail’s spokesperson on Brexit Lisa Chambers has said that greater Government engagement on Brexit is needed.

“Given the gravity of Brexit, the lack of progress on the backstop and the threat that it poses to Ireland’s peace and economic prosperity, it is imperative that the Government increases its own internal engagement on this issue and overall preparedness.

“Every time I or any of my colleagues raise issues in relation to our preparedness for Brexit, we are met with criticism from the Government and accusations that we are trying to undermine it and its negotiation position,” she said.

Deputy Chambers outlined that the Brexit Cabinet committee (Cabinet Committee C) covers issues relating to the European Union and assists the Government in its ongoing consideration of Brexit.

Highlighting Ireland’s links to the UK, Chambers remarked: “Ireland trades €1.2 billion in goods and services with the UK on a weekly basis. A hard Brexit could result in 40,000 job losses, which is a serious threat to our economic prosperity.

“Given that the UK will leave the EU in just a few short months, it is essential that the Government increases its own preparedness for Brexit and actively supports and encourages our businesses and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to do likewise.

“A ‘wait and see‘ approach cannot be the Government’s policy when so much is at stake.”

Brexit preparations

Meanwhile, deputy Chambers said it is being reported that there is an EU internal document warning that member states need to step up their preparations for a “no-deal Brexit”, something which – she says – Fianna Fail has long been calling for.

Chambers concluded saying: “Whilst we certainly hope that a cliff-edge scenario will be avoided and a deal is secured that is in the best interests of all parties, it is only prudent and practical to plan for all scenarios.”