‘Ireland has full backing from the EU 27’ – Coveney

Ireland continues to have the “unwavering support” from the other member states of the European union (EU), according to the Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney.

The Tanaiste was speaking following a meeting with EU chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier yesterday evening (Tuesday, September 18).

“This evening, I held an excellent meeting with the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, in Brussels.

“Michel and his team made a thorough presentation on the status of UK exit negotiations and the task force has Ireland’s full backing in its approach.

Ireland also continues to have unwavering solidarity from the rest of the EU 27. It is clear there will be no withdrawal agreement without the legally operable Irish backstop as committed to by Prime Minister May in December and March.

The Tanaiste added that time is short and both negotiating teams now need heightened engagement in the lead-in to October’s critical EU summit.

“We are continuing to negotiate for a sensible Brexit, and it can be done. However, we have to prepare for all scenarios.

“Earlier today my cabinet colleagues and I agreed the latest steps in Ireland’s contingency planning and implementation.

“This will include a nationwide communications campaign on “Getting Ireland Brexit Ready” to build on the excellent work of our state agencies to date. Minister Humphreys and Minister Creed will join me to launch this campaign on Thursday.”

Coveney noted that the cabinet has also built on the decisions from its July meeting with the sanctioning of the first phase of a staffing programme.

This will see 451 out of a total of 1,077 staff taken on in 2019 for the work that will be needed at Irish ports and airports.

The cabinet also agreed that work would be accelerated to ensure that necessary additional infrastructure becomes operational at our ports and airports in a timely manner.

“Brexit is going to bring change – and Ireland will be ready for that change,” the Tanaiste said.

“And the most crucial and reassuring aspect to our contingency planning remains that, after Brexit, Ireland will continue to enjoy all the benefits of being a full and valued member of the European Union.”