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Simon Coveney speaking to the media earlier this month at Dublin Castle. Leah Farrell/

Ireland must prepare for 'ugly truths' of no-deal Brexit, warns Coveney

The cabinet will today consider the latest plans to prepare Ireland for the possible consequences of Brexit.

IRELAND NEEDS TO face up to the “ugly truths” of what a no-deal Brexit would look like, Tánaiste Simon Coveney said this morning, as he warned that Irish society needs to focus on getting prepared for a UK exit from the EU in October. 

Coveney today brought three memos to Cabinet in relation to Ireland’s preparedness for the UK’s exit from the EU.

Speaking ahead of this morning’s Cabinet meeting, Coveney said that the government saw the threat of a no-deal Brexit as “significant”. 

“We are as prepared as we can be today. But there is still more work to do between now and the end of October,” Coveney said. This would involve working with the European Commission to protect the single market and customs union, as well as avoiding a “security risk” in the event of a no-deal Brexit, he said. 

The Brexit plan being brought to cabinet today makes a number of key points. It notes that the impact of a no-deal Brexit will pose serious challenges to many sectors of Irish society, as well as economic and social life, while also warning the extent of business preparedness for Brexit is a concern. 

Cabinet members will be told that Ireland can’t fully mitigate the impact of a no-deal Brexit – instead, Ireland’s preparations should be seen as an exercise in damage limitation. 

The plan will also be presented to opposition parties.

From today, the government will focus on ensuring that over the summer businesses start thinking about Brexit. While critical of the “uncertainty and confusion” in London, Coveney called on all sectors of the Irish economy to consider the implications of Brexit. 

“A no-deal Brexit will be very challenging. It will put huge strain on certain sectors of the Irish economy. It will perhaps be most damaging for Northern Ireland and we of course want to work to ensure that a no-deal doesn’t happen. But we have to prepare for that scenario,” Coveney said. 

“It’ll be a fundamental disruption to how the all-island economy functions today in such a seamless way. And I think it’ll put strain and stress on not only that trade but the political systems that back it up too,” he added. 

Speaking in Brussels today, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe, where he is attending the Econfin summit of EU finance ministers, said that the Irish government saw the prospect of a disorderly Brexit as a “significant risk”. 

Commenting on the new EU leadership team, which was agreed following days of prolonged negotiations between European leaders, Donohoe said: “It is very important that we have the leadership team in place now to allow Europe to respond back to protect our single market and to ensure that we can rise to the risks that might be created in dealing with Brexit.”

With reporting by Christina Finn. 

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