Friday 22 March 2019

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Cork Independent

Weekly

One step closer

Wednesday, 13th March, 2019 5:01pm

There was another hugely significant Brexit vote in the House of Commons again this week.

Tuesday’s vote saw Theresa May’s Brexit deal be sunk in the water.

She lost the vote by 149 votes - another hugely embarrassing defeat.

A no deal Brexit is now closer than ever. However, essentially everything is the same as ever.

It’s still the UK’s problem, it’s still up to them to find a resolution, but we will all suffer because of it. It did feel like nothing has really changed this week to those of us who are not immediately and intimately involved in the process.

But things have changed - we have moved closer to the trap door.

“This is the moment and this is the time – time for us to come together, back this motion and get the deal done. Because only then can we can get on with what we need to do, what we were sent here to do,” Mrs May said before the vote on Tuesday.

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator said that the EU would not be doing more to help the UK avoid a no deal withdrawal. Michel Barnier added that that 'no-deal' Brexit preparations are “now more important than ever before”.

He tweeted: “The EU has done everything it can to help get the withdrawal agreement over the line. The impasse can only be solved in the UK. Our 'no-deal' preparations are now more important than ever before.”

The Tánaiste said that he is deeply disappointed with the result of the vote and echoed some of Mr Barnier’s comments. Simon Coveney said it was up to the British government and the British parliament to come up with solutions.

The Tánaiste added that the focus has to be on London because that is where the “crisis is and that is where the solutions need to come from”. A no-deal Brexit scenario is a lose, lose, lose for everybody, he warned.

Those words were proven very true on Wednesday morning when the UK announced that it will not introduce any new checks or controls on goods moving across the land border into Northern Ireland if the UK leaves without a deal.

Under a temporary regime, EU goods arriving from the Republic and remaining in Northern Ireland will not be subject to tariffs.

There is a major stinger though. Tariffs will be payable on goods moving from the EU into the rest of the UK through Northern Ireland under a series of rates.

In special arrangements for Northern Ireland, the UK's temporary import tariffs will not apply to EU goods crossing the border from the Republic.

Speaking in the Dáil yesterday, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said the announcement by the British government of a tariff regime “has very devastating implications for Irish farming, particularly in the beef, dairy poultry and pork sector. It would devastate the rural Irish economy, and up to €800m would be the cost to agriculture alone”.

Yesterday the Tánaiste told the Dáil that the imposition of any tariffs on agricultural products between the UK and Ireland would be very damaging. He said the Government will look for a further relaxation of state aid rules and EU supports for business and agri-business if there is a no-deal Brexit.

Truly the game is afoot now and we will all be losers.

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