Ireland is stepping up preparations for a no-deal Brexit.
The warning by prime minister Leo Varadkar came during a British Irish Council meeting in Guernsey on Friday, in the presence of the UK’s Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley.
Theoretically, the meeting would focus on the marine environment, but Brexit became the de facto focus ahead of the June 28-9 EU summit.
All EU member states are “stepping up” preparations for all scenarios, “including a no-deal Brexit,” Varadkar said. The Irish prime minister reiterated that he expects the UK to honour its commitment not to built a hard border on the island.
UK Brexit hardliners insist the UK will not create a hard border infrastructure under any circumstances, forcing the Republic of Ireland to raise border controls in case of a no-deal scenario. I
reland expects the UK to stick to its foldback position of continued membership of the Single Market and the Customs Union for Northern Ireland, effectively turning the Irish sea into a border area.
“This is not a bilateral question between Ireland and the UK; this is an issue between the UK and the EU,” Varadkar said on Friday, making clear Dublin has the support of 26 member states.
The British-Irish Council was set up by the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. This is the only bicommunal forum in operation following the collapse of the unity government in Northern Ireland.