Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson on Brexit, deputy Lisa Chambers, has highlighted this morning, Wednesday, May 22, that UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s latest Brexit offer “leaves a considerable degree of uncertainty for Ireland”.

The TD expressed her sentiments after the prime minister provided MPs with a chance to vote on a second referendum as part of a “new Brexit deal” aimed at resolving the current impasse in Westminster.

In her speech from 10 Downing Street yesterday afternoon, Tuesday, May 21, May said that she has “listened carefully to those who have been arguing for a second referendum”.

This latest Brexit agreement will be Prime Minister May’s fourth attempt to push a deal through parliament on the UK’s departure from the EU after three failed attempts earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Chambers says that the latest offering from the UK “underscores that the direction of Brexit remains uncertain”.

Whilst I welcome the fact that the prime minister is trying to break the Brexit impasse, the reality is that serious doubt remains as to whether the withdrawal agreement can be passed in the House of Commons.

She continued: “From an Irish perspective the ongoing instability and uncertainty is bad for businesses, exporters, and the agri-food sector – her speech leaves more questions than answers.”

Building bridges

Chambers went on to say that during yesterday’s Brexit delivery speech, it was interesting to note that alternative arrangements to replace the backstop by 2020 were referred to once again.

She also pointed to customs arrangements and the possibility of a second referendum.

“Theresa May spoke again of alternative arrangements to replace the backstop by 2020 and temporary customs arrangements; she even opened up the possibility of a second referendum should the withdrawal agreement pass second reading,” Chambers added.

All of this demonstrates that Brexit is far from resolved and Ireland’s future relationship with the UK is far from clarified.

“Whilst we will have to await the publication of the bill to see the detail and make a full assessment of what the prime minister is proposing, it is evident that in any case, the backstop is a necessity.

“Our Government needs to continue to prepare for all scenarios including a no-deal scenario.”