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'Trust the public with hard facts': Micheál Martin calls on government to publish no-deal Brexit plans

He said the government should also make it clear how much new arrangements after Brexit are likely to cost.

Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

FIANNA FÁIL LEADER Micheál Martin has called on the government to publish all of its no-deal preparations.

Cabinet ministers were this week briefed by Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney on the predicted impact of a no-deal Brexit on Ireland’s economy.

The Irish Times reported ministers were told some 10,000 jobs in the tourism and hospitality sector would likely be lost in the first three months after a no-deal Brexit situation. 

They were also reportedly told border checks would have to take place, with a mention of mobile checks, but the government is currently deciding how much detail to release to the public about this. 

“I think we all have the right to be concerned about briefings which emerged from this week’s cabinet meeting about the impact of a no-deal Brexit,” Martin said in a speech to the Kennedy Summer School in New Ross today. 

“According to senior sources quoted in the media, ministers were shocked by what they heard, arrangements are being finalised for checks which in the past we were told wouldn’t happen and it was decided to withhold the briefing from the public,” he said. 

What concerns me most about this is that it is five months after Brexit was originally supposed to happen. In March we came within days of a crash-out Brexit for which Ireland manifestly was not prepared – something the Taoiseach admitted during Dáil questions.
Even today less than 10% of Brexit planning funds have been allocated and core customs training is only beginning.

Martin said Ireland “dodged a bullet” earlier this year but cannot afford “the same failings” again. 

“I think it is long past time for the government to publish everything it has about no deal preparations. Let’s see the full details. Without the spin and with the full costs and administrative arrangements outlined,” Martin said. 

“Our government has to end the policy of hoping that something will turn up to stop it all happening – and a full openness and transparency about what will have to be done is long past due.”

He said Ireland needs to reject the idea that asking hard questions is “risking our national consensus of remaining true to the European ideal”.

“In fact, the biggest threat to our consensus on Europe is an approach which is intolerant of debate and which treats the public as if it cannot be trusted with hard facts.”

Speaking to RTÉ’s Sean O’Rourke today, Minister for European Affairs Helen McEntee said the government is working with the European Commission to determine how border controls and checks would work.

She said it is hoped most of these checks could take place away from the border in businesses, at ports or at airports.

McEntee said the government wants to let people know as soon as possible where checks will be.

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