‘We will negotiate UK trade agreement if there’s a crash-out’ – Creed

Michael Creed, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, has confirmed that the Government will “get back to sitting around the table” to negotiate a trade deal with the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Speaking to Miriam O’Callaghan, on RTÉ Radio 1, the minister was addressing the latest Brexit developments, including the apparent shift in Government opinion across the water since Boris Johnson became prime minister.

“Be absolutely assured, even if there is a crash-out, we will ultimately get back to sitting around the table, negotiating a comprehensive trade agreement, and to come up with proposals that will enable us to continue to trade in significant volumes with the UK , which is our biggest trading partner,” said the minister.

We need to get to a situation where we sit down and negotiate, and I don’t think it is good enough to say: ‘I’ll only negotiate when you tell me what you want to hear.’

“Boris Johnson needs to engage, we need to sit down, we need to be absolutely certain,” Minister Creed continued.

The minister was steadfast in his insistence that there could be no “flexibility” on Ireland’s part where the backstop is concerned.

“The backstop is part of the withdrawal agreement. It cannot be time limited. It was negotiated in good fate on the basis of ‘red lines’ that were insisted upon by the UK government, informed by DUP concerns,” he stressed.

It’s an insurance policy, and an insurance policy that insures you for six months isn’t an insurance policy at all.

“We have no interest in trapping, as has been suggested, the UK in a permanent backstop arrangement,” Minister Creed added.

The minister also reiterated his commitment that the Government will “do whatever is necessary to protect this sector through what may be a very difficult period if there is a crash-out”.