People Before Profit raise concerns on Varadkar comments over EU requirement for hard border in event of no-deal Brexit
Border poll should be sought, North and South, to protect against any possibility of a hard border
Speaking in the Dáil today during Taoiseach’s questions and ahead of tonight’s debate on the EU EU-UK withdrawal agreement, People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett has labelled comments made last weekend by the Taoiseach that he might have to impose a hard border in the event of a No-Deal Brexit as “alarming in the extreme” and suggesting previous assurances from Junker, Barnier and Leo Varadkar could not be trusted.
It was reported that the Taoiseach said: ‘I think in a no-deal scenario it would be very difficult to avoid a hard border. As Ireland [is] remaining part of the European Union, we would no doubt be required to implement European law’.
He said that this shows previous commitments by Leo Varadkar, Barnier and Junker not to impose a hard border could not be trusted.
In response to questioning from Deputy Boyd Barrett in the Dáil in June as to whether the EU could be trusted with “our border and the interests of the people of this country”, Jean-Claude Junker responded ‘Yes’.
The TD pointed out that these recent comments by the Taoiseach suggest that the Government and the EU may be more concerned about the integrity of the EU single market that averting a hard border.
Richard Boyd Barrett said that “the so-called EU solidarity with Ireland in the Brexit negotiations might well disappear if the EU had to choose between the single market and implementing a hard border.”
People Before Profit have submitted two amendments to the EU-UK withdrawal motion (see notes) which is due to be debated in the Dáil this evening.
The amendments are:
- Seeking commitments that Brexit will not be used as a pretext to attack workers’ pay, conditions or to impose cuts to public services.
- Calls for a North-South border poll on partition to protect against any possibility of a hard border.
Richard Boyd Barrett TD said: “I found it quite shocking to read the Taoiseach’s comments over the weekend where he basically said that if there was a No-Deal Brexit that he and the EU would impose a hard border.
“It also proves that when Jean-Claude Junker, others in the EU and our government had given assurances that they would not impose a hard border that these assurances cannot be fully trusted.
“It suggests that for the Taoiseach, Junker and Barnier- protection of the integrity of the EU single market, regardless of the outcome for this country and the North, is the bigger priority. I think it is alarming in the extreme for the Taoiseach to make such comments.
“We must at all costs avoid a hard border and the strengthening of partition on this island. I think this is a very worrying suggestion from the Taoiseach, the EU and the Irish government and it shows clearly that the so-called EU solidarity with Ireland maybe nothing more than rhetoric.
“If there is even the slightest possibility of a hard border, on basic democratic grounds, the government should seek a commitment from the UK for a North-South border poll on partition to prevent such a border.”
People Before Profit amendments to EU-UK withdrawal motion:
Supports the Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community (the draft Withdrawal Agreement), as published on 14 November 2018, including the draft Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland which forms an integral part of the Draft Agreement.
Declares that the Brexit crisis must not be used as a pretext by employers or government to enforce wage restraint or income reductions on workers or to cut public services.
Commits to seeking an agreement with the British Government to holding a simultaneous border poll on partition, North and South, to protect against any possibility of a hard border.