Ireland to hire 1,000 customs and veterinary officials for Brexit

Blanche Robertson
July 22, 2018

"If they leave the European Union they are not, and that does mean if there was a no-deal hard Brexit next March, the planes would not fly and Britain would be an island in many ways".

The sticking point in the EU-UK negotiations, so far, has been around the proposed customs backstop - an arrangement that will apply to the Irish border after Brexit, if a wider deal or technological solution can not keep it as frictionless as it is now.

The EU is already stepping up its preparations for a "no-deal" scenario.

Britain's own counter-offer on a backstop agreement, which includes a time-limit on any arrangement, was met with a cool reception by Brussels.

Mrs May will again refuse to countenance any backstop that creates a divide between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

British Prime Minister, Theresa May is to reaffirm her commitment to a Brexit that avoids a hard border and protects the Good Friday Agreement in a significant speech to be delivered in Belfast today.

She also says it is clear that the British House of Commons would reject it.

During the cabinet away day, ministers discussed Brexit contingency plans to prepare for a hard Brexit.

European ministers from the EU27 are due to meet on Friday, and statements emphasised that, despite Mr Barnier's characteristic belligerence, they still hope to make progress.

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The pro-EU faction was furious that, earlier in the week, May's government had made a number of concessions to the Brexit-supporting faction, and introduced an amendment to a Brexit bill that was only defeated by six votes, several of which came from the opposition benches.

Mrs May will promote the Chequers plan, and a subsequent government white paper, as the way to the stronger and brighter tomorrow.

It is "now for the European Union to respond". But to evolve their position in kind.

May said the return of a hard border once Britain leaves the bloc would be "almost inconceivable", but dismissed the EU's current plan to avoid it as unacceptable.

The Prime Minister's Chequers White Paper was criticised by Brexiteers in her own party, who bemoaned its strategy for a soft Brexit.

She told The House magazine: The EU has simply not taken us seriously so far in terms of the future agreement.

Politicians have warned that the re-imposition of physical infrastructure on the border when it becomes the EU's external frontier would anger Irish nationalists in Northern Ireland who aspire to unification with the Republic of Ireland and help militants opposed to the peace deal to recruit new members.

She sought to dispel criticism from Brexiteers by arguing that rules on goods "have been relatively stable for 30 years", that most standards are set by worldwide bodies "which we will remain a member of after we leave the EU" and that United Kingdom businesses trading with the single market "will continue to meet these rules anyway". In my view, it's take this seriously or we are heading for no deal.

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