Which Leo Varadkar is gone to Brussels? – Doherty
Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty has strongly criticised the government’s lack of preparedness for the impact of Brexit on Ireland and expressed his disappointment regarding the Taoiseach’s shift of position in relation to status of the North in the wake of Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Teachta Doherty made the comments during Leaders’ Questions today and he cited the latest ESRI report which warns of a €600 million reduction in the government’s spending ability in the event of a hard Brexit.
Deputy Doherty said;
“There is no indicator that the government has grasped the magnitude of the economic, social, and political threat arising from Brexit.
“This reality is underscored by the warning delivered by the ESRI today.
“Its latest report states that a hard Brexit will reduce the state’s spending ability by €200 million per year for the first three years following Brexit.
“It could cost us 49,000 jobs.
“That means €600 million less for the government to spend on ending the crises in our public services.
“Just 1 in 20 firms has a plan in place to deal with a potential customs Border with the North following the Brexit vote.
“The Taoiseach is attending his first European Council meeting today.
“The people deserve to know which Leo Varadkar is attending and what position he is advocating.
“Is it the tough-talking Leo Varadkar who, during the Fine Gael election contest, promised to campaign to ensure that the North remains with the Customs Union, the Single Market and that there would be no economic border on the island of Ireland?
“Or is it the weak Leo Varadkar who, after one meeting with Theresa May in Downing Street, became over-awed, and emerged talking about an ‘invisible border’.
“If the North is dragged out of the Customs Union by the Tory government, that means an economic border on our island.
“The government must be clear.
“Is its position for the North to remain in the Customs Union and for no economic border to be imposed on the island of Ireland or is it now acquiescing to the complete opposite?”