Northern Ireland news

Speculation about 'no deal' Brexit damages Irish economy

Leo Varakar and Simon Coveney meeting with the Northern Ireland remain parties in Dublin yesterday.

As representatives from Northern Ireland's four main pro-remain parties met Leo Varadkar at Government Buildings in Dublin yesterday, the draft agreement the Taoiseach had publicly supported seemed certain to be rejected by the Commons.

As a result of the uncertainty the Irish stock market dropped more than any other main exchange in Western Europe, with Ireland's economy most exposed to the fallout from a no deal Brexit.

The taoiseach maintains the withdrawal agreement includes "important assurances re the Good Friday Agreement and the need for continued close relations among all parts of these islands".

And despite the document being rejected by senior members of the conservative party and the DUP Mr Varadkar maintained "This is not an end point.

"There is still a long way to go but I believe the draft agreement published today is a very solid step on the journey", he added

In the event of a no deal, a hard border and inevitable impact to the Irish economy, the fall out could impact the Fine Gael leadership who aligned themselves so closely to the withdrawal negotiations.

Political commentator Noel Whelan said in the event of a no deal, and despite the economic fallout, he thinks the Irish people "will be forgiving" of the taoiseach, who he said "did an incredible job getting what the Irish government wanted into the agreement".

"The Irish government could only ever seek to influence the process, they cannot manage the internal affairs of the Tory party", he said.

"The way things seem to be playing out, the Irish people are now passive observers to the British political system, despite being massively collaterally damaged by what happens in British politics.

"British politics is so volatile at this time, we don't know who is going to emerge as prime minister, but regardless who is in charge it is hard to see what alternative deal Europe could give them.

"They have already done all the manoeuvring, it seems impossible to design an exit strategy other than what has been included in this agreement.

"I don't think the Irish people will punish Leo Vardkar, he did the best he could do in the best interest of Ireland", Mr Whelan said.

"If anything both Varadkar and Coveney have been strengthened by the shift in the orientation of civil society on the nationalist side in the North looking to them for leadership", he added.

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