Breaking – Ireland will block #Brexit deal if #MayDUP deal goes ahead

In a huge – and possibly mortal – blow for Tory hopes of delaying the collapse of their ‘weak and wobbly’ minority government, Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has told Irish TV station RTE that the Irish Republic will not support any Brexit deal (encompassing, among other things, any free-trade agreement) if the UK does not ‘fully’ protect the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) and the peace process in Northern Ireland:

As there is no conceivable way that the Tories can do a deal with the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) without threatening the peace process by forsaking the UK government’s pledged impartiality, this amounts to a declaration that Ireland will veto any Brexit deal if a Tory-DUP deal goes ahead.

Putting Theresa May and her advisors in an impossible situation.

A legal challenge to any ‘MayDUP’ deal is already in preparation on the grounds that it would breach the GFA, but even more importantly, Sinn Fein would never tolerate such a deal and would ‘leave the GFA table’, shutting down the peace process and ending May’s hopes of any kind of Brexit deal.

This leaves May with four options:

  1. end negotiations with the DUP and try to govern as a minority – with an offended and vengeful DUP then in a position to bring down her government and likely to do its best to do so
  2. end negotiations with the DUP and hope that the LibDems are prepared to commit irretrievable political suicide in order to shore up a government that clearly has no mandate
  3. press ahead with the DUP deal – assuming the Tories can even close it, which is seriously in doubt – but suffer the wrath of the UK’s ‘leavers’ and condemn the UK to an almost certain ‘no-deal’ default to WTO (World Trade Organisation) terms, the worst possible result
  4. drive to Buckingham Palace with her own and her government’s resignation and trigger a new General Election in a desperate – Labour are currently polling well ahead of the chaotic and clearly incompetent Tories

Of these four, the last looks by far the most likely result.

Thank you Ireland, thank you Mr Simon Coveney. You are very likely saving the peace process – and helping to bring down a toxic and incompetent Tory government that has been breaking all kinds of constitutional precedents in its desperate attempt to cling to power.

But of course this massive news is, so far, entirely absent from BBC News’ rolling coverage of Brexit negotiations, with the national broadcaster instead currently talking up the prospects for a deal with no mention of Ireland’s enormous spanner in the works.

So again it’s over to the SKWAWKBOX’s readers to make sure the message gets out and accelerate the demise of the worst Prime Minister in generations.

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  1. Flipping heck, at last someone with a sense of what is right. Thank you Mr Coveney. Stymied Mrs May. That’ll be Check & Mate!!! Good one Skwarkbox. Been RT every fives minutes.

  2. I’m not sure how in practice this works.

    Let’s say that whichever government is in power at the time the Brexit deal is finalised satisfies Ireland that the GFA is fully protected because, amongst other things, there is no current parliamentary arrangement between a NI party and the governing party.

    The implication of the deal being contingent on this would seem to be that no NI party could EVER form any arrangement with any major party without the deal being withdrawn. (Does SF permanent abstention count as an arrangement in minority government territory?)

    Further if we ever get to a PR electoral system which implies almost permanent coalition (France and M Macron being the notable exception) it would mean that NI parties would never be able to participate.

    Would the British parties, and voters, really want the freedom of their Parliament circumscribed in this way? Would no deal be better than allowing essentially one country to influence our parliamentary arrangements?

    PS Fortunately the Irish Taoiseach did tell RTE that that he was optimistic that “.. a deal on restoring power-sharing in Northern Ireland will be done by the 29 June deadline.” Presumably despite the DUP / Cons proposed agreement.

    And he told the Irish News that “..”We (he and Mrs May) spoke about the very important need for both governments to be impartial actors when it comes to Northern Ireland and that we are co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement and that any agreement that may exist between the Conservatives and the DUP should not in any way impact on the Good Friday Agreement,” he said.

    “I am very reassured by what the prime minister said to me today that that won’t be the case.”

  3. This is embarrassingly poor journalism. You’ve already corrected your piece from “… the Irish Republic will veto any Brexit deal…” to “the Irish Republic will not support any Brexit…” – presumably because someone with some understanding of EU politics has told you that no single member state has a ‘veto’ over Brexit.

    But most importantly, both Sinn Fein and the ROI know that a Tory-DUP deal does not automatically violate the GFA; that depends on what’s in the deal and how it’s implemented.

    There is no evidence for your claim that Sinn Fein ‘would never tolerate such a deal’ – in fact they’ve already laid conditions on it, such as Gerry Adam’s public demand that any funding secured as a result be managed by ‘the executive’ and spent in a non-partisan way. Why on earth would he make such claims if they were going to stay out of Stormont no matter the ins and outs of the deal?

    Unless he’s making a huge blunder, what Coveney really means is that his government will wait and see what comes of the deal, and then might act. In reality the threat is totally empty, because talks on a post-Brexit UK-EU trade deal (the only thing member states can influence) will not start for quite some time. If the deal does violate the GFA it will be apparent well before then, meaning legal challenges will have already begun.

    1. It’s not about a veto over ‘Brexit’. Brexit is unilateral and no other country can stop it. It’s about – and this is made explicit in the article – any trade deal that might accompany the exit. And trade deals require unanimous agreement, so any member nation can veto it. Veto’s still in the article btw – maybe you missed it. Your interpretation of what Coveney meant is interesting – and absolutely meaningless. He said what he said, but nice try.

      1. Your original article read “Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has told Irish TV station RTE that the Irish Republic will veto any Brexit deal if the UK does not ‘fully’ protect the Good Friday Agreement”. You also added “(encompassing, among other things, any free-trade agreement)” after “Brexit deal”. If you’re so confident you were being accurate, why did you change this?

        Anyway, you haven’t addressed my other points. The bigger crime here – as I literally state right after the first paragraph, if you’d cared to read beyond it – is how you are reporting on the DUP deal. Your headline still reads “IRELAND WILL BLOCK #BREXIT DEAL IF #MAYDUP DEAL GOES AHEAD” – you owe your readers better than that.

        I didn’t dispute that Coveney is threatening to not sign off on a trade deal. Try as you might with May-like platitudes (“he said what he said” – really?), he -at no point- says that this will be the ROI’s response to -any- Tory-DUP deal. That’s all your own analysis, and for the reasons I laid out above, I think it’s out of whack with reality.

        My point about what he means is not meaningless: if the deal does violate the GFA then that would be addressed way, way before UK-EU trade deal talks are on the table.

  4. I’d love to have some of what you’re smoking as every word of this is pure fantasy land! Living in Belfast myself, none of the above has been said other than Sinn Fein grumblings about this coalition making it difficult to use the UK Gov as a go between in negotiations when they are in bed with that government. Even then no threats have been made about walking out. Considering Sinn Fein on principle do not take their seats in Parliament, that threat is hollow if it were to come to fruitition.

    If you want to shit stir head across the pond!

    1. Are you visually/audially impaired? The Irish Foreign Minister is shown saying it in the video. They can’t walk out of a government that’s currently suspended, either – but they certainly won’t walk back in. Nationalists are a lot more upset than just ‘grumbling’.

      1. Disagree, he’s not avowing gov policy. This is a case of one man’s rhetoric not reality, pure and simple. To put it forward as anything else is just bad journalism. Whether a “deal” is done between DUP and Tories is academic as the DUP will always vote with the government. So deals being done in the political reaity of the situation just put people’s noses out of joint. I hardly think the Irish Goverment or Sinn Fein are going to cut their noses off to spite their faces. Any one with an ounce of intelligence knows that the Irish Gov will tow the EU line when it comes to decisions over Brexit. Posturing by individuals won’t change that.

  5. If the Liberal Democrats go into coalition with the Conservatives again, that will be electoral suicide. It would be better if they form a confidence & supply arrangement with the Conservatives. They could force the government to hold a ratification referendum on the Brexit deal, and also introduce PR.

    Here is what this year’s election result would have looked like under a proportional voting system:

    Great Britain:
    Con: 274
    Labour: 259
    LibDem: 48
    SNP: 22
    UKIP: 12
    Green: 10
    PC: 4
    Others: 3

    Northern Ireland:
    DUP: 7
    Sinn Fein: 5
    SDLP: 2
    UUP: 2
    APNI: 1
    Others: 1

  6. It’s brilliant just let her keep hanging themselves daily, she’s trying every which way and I’m quite happy to wait as long as she does NOT upset the peace in NI that’s fine for Labour
    Get the new election started.

    1. I agree Janet; Despite having stress sessions every day with this Mayhem we are all having to endure, I also am enjoying the ‘suck it and see’ attitude of the Prime Minister: We surely deserve someone who is a proper Leader and able to move this Country forward.

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