Ireland chaos: Brexit panic as Dublin leaders hit by coronavirus – Varadkar on alert
THE danger to Ireland if the UK severs ties with the EU at the end of the year without a trade deal in place was stressed by the country’s foreign minister Simon Coveney during a meeting with Northern Irish political leaders.
Brexit: Coveney says UK ‘must follow through on commitments’
Meanwhile Taoiseach and Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin‘s struggling coalition government has been dealt a further blow after it was revealed four ministers – including his predecessor as Irish leader Leo Varadkar – are currently restricting their movements as a result of coronavirus concerns. Mr Coveney, of Fine Gael, is one of them – but was nevertheless clear to meet Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O’Neill, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood, Alliance leader Naomi Long and Green Party NI leader Clare Bailey in Dublin, during which time he outlined his concerns.
Ireland is deeply concerned by the implications of the Internal Market Bill, which would give Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Government the power to override some aspects of the withdrawal agreement with the EU in relation to the Northern Ireland protocol.
Mr Coveney used the meeting to outline his Government’s “very real concern” at the UK Government’s plans
Afterwards, he said: “Since the beginning of the Brexit process, Ireland and the EU have been committed to finding a solution which works for the people of Northern Ireland and for the island as a whole.
Leo Varadkar is currently restricting his movements as a coronavirusprecaution
Simon Coveney is Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs
There was strong agreement this morning on the vital importance of implementing the protocol in full and in good faith
“The protocol does this. There was strong agreement this morning on the vital importance of implementing the protocol in full and in good faith.
“We also noted the particular challenges facing business in Northern Ireland.
“They need certainty, and this needs to be delivered through full implementation of the protocol.”
Paschal Donohoe, pictured with Mr Varadkar, is also take precautions
Apart from Mr Varadkar, who has nevertheless tested negative for the illness, and Mr Coveney, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly are also taking precautions.
A statement issued by Mr Varadkar said: “Yesterday I was informed that I was a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19. I was swabbed yesterday and the test has come back negative.
“In line with public health advice, I will be restricting my movements to home and outdoor exercise.
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