Varadkar’s cast-iron guarantee ‘a nonsense’ – Cullinane
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Brexit David Cullinane TD has described an Taoiseach Leo Varadkar as “naïve” for accepting promises from a fractured Tory government and said that his ‘cast-iron’ guarantees are now not worth the paper they were written on.
Speaking during Leaders’ Questions, Deputy Cullinane said:
“Taoiseach, your naive guarantees in December have damaged your credibility.
“You allowed yourself and this government to be led by the nose by Theresa May, with Tánaiste Simon Coveney patted on the back by Boris Johnson as the ‘best boy in the class’.
“EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan said last week that a border on the island of Ireland is inevitable if Britain leaves the customs union. This will happen, he said, regardless of any alignment that is secured in terms of regulations.
“The EU negotiator, Sabine Weyland, said that meeting commitments on the ‘all-island economy’ would imply the north effectively remaining within the customs union and single market.
“One senior French official told the Financial Times that the Irish issue had not been solved at all in December, adding: ‘We swept it under the carpet’.
“And yesterday, Michel Barnier said that ‘without a customs union – and being outside the Single Market – barriers to trade and goods and services are unavoidable’.
“Taoiseach, the only two people left who believe you have a ‘cast-iron’ guarantee from the British government are yourself and your Tánaiste.
“Everyone else has accepted the reality that we are back to square one.
“Your refusal to do likewise is damaging the interests of Ireland.
“The only practical solution for Ireland is for the north to have special status within the EU.
“This after all would simply reflect the will of the people as the majority of the people of the north voted to remain.
“Sinn Féin is very clear on the nature of that special status.
“It means in practical terms, the north staying in the customs union and single market; both the Assembly and the Good Friday Agreement staying in the legal framework of the European Union and the European courts, as well as the protection of the rights of citizens and people who live in the north of Ireland who are Irish and European citizens and who should be able to enjoy the same level of rights after Brexit.
“The sooner the Government realises this and works towards it, the better.”