‘It isn’t about the money’: Reports of financial sweeteners to Ireland in an event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit dismissed

Mr Coveney responded to leaked details of a plan by Cabinet Brexit enforcer Michael Gove to pressurise Ireland over medical supplies and border delays to get it to accept Britain’s widely rejected latest deal.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney dismissed British newspaper reports of financial ‘sweeteners’ to Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Coveney, Ireland’s chief Brexit negotiator, declared: “This isn’t about money – if people still think it is, well then, they’re really not plugged into the Irish mindset or to the history of this island.”

He made his remarks ahead of this week’s expected discussions between Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Prime Minister Boris Johnson, probably on Wednesday.

Mr Coveney was also speaking after British papers published leaked details of a plan by Cabinet Brexit enforcer Michael Gove to pressurise Ireland over medical supplies and border delays to get it to accept Britain’s widely rejected latest deal.

Mr Coveney was asked in Cork about the ‘leverage’ document from Michael Gove’s ‘no-deal Brexit committee that was leaked to The Times.

The newspaper reported that the Gove committee compiled a list of issues that would affect Ireland if there is a no-deal Brexit and that could be used for leverage.

It repeated an already discredited and refuted suggestion that the UK could pay “sweeteners” to Ireland to pay for customs infrastructure on the border.

The leaked details will be compared to the suggestion by Priti Patel, now the Home Secretary, in December last year, that the UK use potential food shortages in Ireland under No Deal as a bargaining tool in negotiations.

 

“This isn’t about money. If people still think it is well then, they’re really not plugged into the Irish mindset or to the history of this island.

 

Mr Coveney, door-stepped by reporters in Cork, said: “There’s nothing new here for us. We’ve been talking about the downside of a no-deal Brexit for many, many months.

“If a no-deal Brexit were to happen, it’ll be a lose-lose, lose for everybody – for the UK, for Ireland, for the EU.

“That’s why we’re so focused on trying to resolve differences and trying to get a Brexit deal agreed so that we can move on to the next stage of Brexit in a controlled and managed way and avoid an awful lot of the disruption that will undoubtedly flow from a no-deal.

“This isn’t about money. If people still think it is well then, they’re really not plugged into the Irish mindset or to the history of this island.

“This is not about money or sweeteners or being paid off or anything like that.”

The list suggests the UK could use leverage over the following areas:

  • The fact that 60 per cent of Ireland’s medicines come from the UK.
  • Customs checks causing lengthy delays on the bridge to Holyhead, from where freight traffic travels to Ireland.
  • The potential loss of fishing rights off the coast of Northern Ireland.
  • Disruption to “equine transport” between the Republic and the UK.

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