News & Media

Johnson's WA changes not possible - time to escalate no deal prep

29 July 2019

Statement by Brendan Howlin TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Northern Ireland

Johnson's desired changes to the withdrawal agreement are not possible: it is time for the Government to escalate no deal preparations

Labour Party Leader, Brendan Howlin TD, said it is clear that the new UK Prime Minister’s hard line attitude is intended to push the EU into granting new concessions that would be to Ireland’s disadvantage.

Brendan said: "It is always a good thing to see leaders talk but it would be wrong to expect anything monumental from a conversation between the Taoiseach and Prime Minister Johnson. Mr Johnson is seeking something that the Taoiseach is not in a position to give.  The critical issue now is for Ireland to accelerate no deal preperations in light of the attitude shown by the new British Government.

"The all-UK backstop was a British solution to their own concerns with the original Northern Ireland only backstop. Having gone cold on their own idea now, the British are yet to provide a satisfactory alternative. As a result, the backstop is part of the Withdrawal Agreement and must remain so. 

“It is not simply the position of the Irish Government or Leo Varadkar, it represents the settled will of the entire Irish parliament.  

“It was proposed by the British Government as a solution to the contradictions in their negotiating three red lines.  Mr Johnson may lead a new Government but he comes with no new ideas on how to address those contradictions. Rather, judging by his remarks today in Scotland, he wishes everybody else to provide solutions for him.  In reality, Mr Johnson appears to be more interested in winning the next British general election than protecting the living standards of the British people.

“It is now time for the Irish Government to accelerate no deal planning.  Central to these preparations and missing to date has been the level of material support available for Ireland from the EU. We do not want this outcome. It is not in our interests or those of the people of Northern Ireland and Great Britain, but it appears that the British Government is prepared to proceed with no deal, and we must be ready.”