Ireland publishes no-deal Brexit preparation bill

             By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal

LONDON (AA) – Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney has said he hoped the legislation to prepare the country for a possible no-deal Brexit will not be needed.

Speaking at a news conference in Dublin, Coveney, who is also the foreign minister, said he wanted the bill that was published on Friday morning to remain "redundant".

“My only desire is to see this legislation sit on the shelf,” he added.

Describing a Brexit without a deal as a “lose-lose-lose” situation for the U.K., Ireland and the EU, Coveney said: “We cannot offset all of the damage that it will do but we are doing everything we can.”

The bill focuses on “measures protecting our citizens and supporting the economy, enterprise and jobs, particularly in key economic sectors,” according to the explanatory memorandum to the bill.

The possibility of a no-deal Brexit has risen since a deal reached between the EU and the U.K. government was rejected by an overwhelming majority in the House of Commons.

Opposition came to a backstop clause in the deal, which is an insurance policy to keep the U.K. aligned with the EU regulations until a sustainable solution is found to the problem of the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland — the only post-Brexit land crossing between the EU and the U.K. — and avoid a hard border.

It was originally suggested by the EU to keep Northern Ireland in the EU market and customs union after Brexit until a solution is found to the future of the border with the Republic of Ireland.

Prime Minister Theresa May had negotiated for a U.K.-wide backstop that would create a border. The EU agreed and a new version of backstop for the whole of the U.K. was added in the deal.

The majority of British lawmakers rejected the deal because of the backstop clause as it cannot be revoked unilaterally by the EU or the U.K.

May has been holding meetings with EU officials since the parliamentary defeat after telling the House of Commons that the backstop would be replaced with “alternative arrangements.”

However, the EU has said the withdrawal agreement is not to be reopened for negotiations.

The House of Commons is set to debate and vote on May’s supposedly altered deal next week as a little longer than a month is left before the Brexit date of March 29.

The U.K. voters had decided to leave the union and end the country’s more than 40-year-long membership to the bloc in a 2016 public vote.

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