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Fears over using list of potential issues affecting Ireland post-Brexit to undermine negotiations

A list of potential issues was allegedly made by Michael Gove’s Brexit operations committee.

Michael Gove.
Michael Gove.
Image: Shutterstock/Ian Davidson Photography

A LIST OF potential issues for Ireland post-Brexit allegedly drawn up by Michael Gove’s Brexit operations committee could be used in a ‘malicious’ way to exert pressure on the Irish government, according to Fianna Fáil’s Brexit spokesperson.

Gove’s Brexit operations committee has allegedly made a list of potential issues that could affect the Republic of Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit, The Times UK newspaper reported earlier today.

Problem areas raised by ministers that could be used as leverage if negotiations break down include that:

  • 60% of Ireland’s medicines come from the UK
  • Custom checks would cause lengthy delays at Holyhead Bridge in Wales 
  • It would cause a disruption in transporting horses between the Republic and Northern Ireland. 

There is also the potential to lose fishing rights off the coast of Northern Ireland. 

The Times also reported that ministers are considering some “sweeteners” to offer the Republic such as funding aid for infrastructure needed to enforce custom checks at the border.

Fianna Fáil Brexit spokesperson Lisa Chambers spoke to RTÉ’s News at One today about this alleged list of issues. 

Chambers said that although it was a good thing in certain respects for the UK to list out the impacts for Ireland, there are fears it could be used as leverage “ in a malicious way to try and undermine the negotiation and try and exert pressure on the Irish government”. 

“I think it’s a good thing that the UK have acknowledged that their Brexit policy has significant negative impacts for Ireland and our citizens, and I think it’s right and proper that they would consider those,” she said. 

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“What’s not okay is the suggestion that they might use that to put pressure on the Irish government to somehow move in a particular direction for Brexit.

“If that is the MO the government are pursuing now in the UK, that is worrying because that sets a particular tone and removes an element of goodwill and trust between the UK and Ireland.”

Chambers said that she has “no doubt” some MPs and cabinet members see Ireland as “the problem and possibly the enemy” in reaching a Brexit deal with the European Union.  

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