Backstop is not dead and Taoiseach must hold firm

16 July 2019

Responding to the claim by both British Conservative leadership candidates that the border backstop is ‘dead’, the leader of the Labour Party, Brendan Howlin TD, called on the Taoiseach to hold firm and to retain the solidarity of the European Union for the Irish backstop.

Brendan said “It is unbelievable that both contenders to be the next British Prime Minister are presenting arguments so far removed from reality. The Government must ignore this attempt to dislodge Ireland from our position that there must be a backstop to preserve the open border.

“The British Government under Theresa May, and both Conservative leadership candidates, have pledged to uphold the Good Friday Agreement and to keep an open border with Ireland. The backstop represents the only viable way to do that in a context where the UK leaves the European single market and customs union.

“A backstop is required to maintain free and frictionless movement of people and to permit businesses to operate on an all-island basis with the minimum of additional administration. We cannot compromise on the backstop without further endangering tens of thousands of jobs and without seriously undermining the progress achieved by the Good Friday Agreement.

“The implementation of any future relationship between the UK and the EU will be contingent upon a satisfactory outcome to the issue of the Irish border as long as we keep the new EU leadership on our side. The Taoiseach should contact all European heads of government to ensure that there is no breakdown in European solidarity for Ireland in the face of the unrealistic demands being made by Johnson and Hunt.”

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