Brexit: Brendan Howlin claims EU could defer Irish backstop
THE leader of the Labour Party in the Republic has claimed that the European Union is considering postponing or deferring the Irish backstop.
Brendan Howlin said he had learned of the "very dangerous" suggestion from colleagues in Europe.
Mr Howlin said the Brexit negotiations had reached the point where the border had become the "fulcrum issue".
The Wexford TD said he had hoped a clear outline of the backstop would have been agreed in June and now fears that if it is not settled soon "there was every danger that it would become the critical issue".
He said a deferment of the backstop would "muddy the waters in relation to the exit deal".
- Brexit: Former British Army chief says return to hard border 'political failure'
- Germany tells Theresa May to 'take responsibility' in Brexit talks
- Brussels warns no-deal Brexit 'more likely' as British government holds crisis talks
- Simon Coveney says British government must stick to written commitments over Brexit backstop
- Derry Girls Against Borders group campaign in Brussels
"I think that is very dangerous for us and it is something that we have to resist but it was predictable," he said.
Mr Howlin called for a "clear determination set out by the Irish government" on the backstop issue and that it must be permanent.
"The idea of a temporary backstop is a bizarre suggestion," he said.
The Labour leader said the backstop should be "put to bed".
Asked if a no-deal Brexit was now a possibility he said: "Yes that is my view. I think that people have boxed themselves into extreme positions and it is the extremists now that are dictating terms – that is something that I was fearful of for a year."
A Dublin government spokesman described Mr Howlin's claim about the backstop as "utterly baseless", adding that the EU remained fully supportive of the Republic's position.