Ireland faces an "emergency situation" if Britain leaves the EU without a deal, the country's foreign minister warned Friday, as the government published a draft legislation aimed at softening the blow.
The law is now expected to be approved by parliament but would not be enacted if Britain leaves with a deal.
"The country potentially faces an emergency situation which we are preparing for now in as comprehensive a way as we can", Simon Coveney told reporters.
"A disorderly Brexit will be a lose-lose-lose - for the UK, for the EU and for Ireland. We cannot offset all of the damage that it will do but we are doing everything that we can," he said.
The so-called "Brexit omnibus bill" contains 15 parts, intending to limit disruption in provision of healthcare, power distribution, travel, immigration and student financial support between Britain and Ireland.
It also contains substantial alterations to taxation arrangements, should Britain become a "third country" by leaving the trading bloc without a withdrawal deal.
"We are doing all we can to avoid a no deal scenario, but we need to be ready in case it does happen," Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said in a statement.
"This special law enables us to mitigate against some of the worst effects of no deal by protecting citizens' rights, security, and facilitating extra supports for vulnerable businesses and employers."
The bill does not outline any legislative steps that the Irish government would take relating to its historically troubled land border with the British province of Northern Ireland.
If Britain leaves without a deal, the 500-kilometre boundary will become a new frontier of the EU, theoretically requiring checks and infrastructure to preserve the integrity of the customs union and single market.
Coveney has previously said there is no "secret plan" for the border but EU, Irish and British diplomats alike have confirmed such measures would be necessary.
Brexit negotiations are currently stalled.
British Prime Minister Theresa May is unable to secure parliamentary approval for the deal she has negotiated with EU leaders, which contains a clause intended to keep the Irish border free-flowing.
The Irish Brexit bill is expected to pass parliament with minimal opposition before Britain's scheduled departure date for leaving the EU on March 29.
CommentsComments powered by Disqus
Do not have an account?Sign Up