Ireland’s Foreign Affairs Minister has said the country will not stand in the way if the British Government asks for an extension to Article 50. Simon Coveney said they want to avoid a no-deal Brexit scenario as “everyone loses”.
Speaking to reporters in Dublin, he said: “The (Withdrawal) Agreement was a compromise on both sides. We want to continue to advocate for that deal and provide where possible the reassurance and clarifications that may be needed in Westminster to have that deal ratified.
“If it is the case that in some point in the future the British Government seeks an extension of Article 50, that will have to have EU approval, but that is not something we would stand in the way of.
“All focus now needs to be on the deal and providing clarifications on the detail of that deal.”
His comments come after he warned the British Government that time for “wishful thinking” is over if it wants to avoid crashing out of the European Union.
The Tanaiste was addressing ambassadors and dignitaries attending the Global Ireland 2025 Heads of Mission Conference on Tuesday morning.
Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also attended the event at Dublin Castle.
Ahead of a vote on Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement in Westminster next week, Mr Coveney said there is no alternative to the agreement “waiting to be dusted off”.
He said: “It is also wishful thinking to ignore the default outcome if nothing else is agreed – that default is a crash-out.”
Mr Coveney said: “Surely now is the time in Westminster for everyone, in government and in opposition, to cast aside unrealistic options based on promises that simply cannot be delivered.
“If that doesn’t happen quickly, in the absence of that realism, it is the hardliners who think no price is too high to pay for their version of Brexit who will win out to everyone’s cost, including Ireland’s.”