O’Murchú: EU Solidarity needed over Brexit

There can be ‘no blinking whatsoever’ by EU negotiators when it comes to the Brexit endgame, a Dundalk TD has said, as new figures from the Revenue show that most export businesses in Louth have a customs number.

Sinn Féin’s Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú raised a number of Brexit-related issues in Leinster House recently. During a debate on Pre-European Council statements, he said: ‘We are being told this is coming down to governance, a level playing field and fishing rights. It looks like this is a game being played by a British Government seeking fishing rights on which it does not seem to have the capacity to follow through.

‘Whether we are talking about the withdrawal agreement or the possibility of a free trade agreement, this is about mitigating the worst aspects of Brexit. Some of that will be within our control but not all of it will be.

‘There is a belief that this British Government is literally playing games because approximately 45% of exports from Britain go to the European Union. It requires a deal as much as anybody else.

‘I could not say I could ever trust the British Government, and one could not trust this British Government in particular. We must ensure we can maintain the level of European solidarity and that there is no blinking whatsoever’.

He made the comments against the backdrop of the ‘renewed threat’ of the Internal Markets Bill and the possible introduction of a Finance Bill by the British Government, that could, Deputy Ó Murchú said, ‘undermine the Irish Protocol’.

Hauliers, he said, are also facing the vista of Dublin Port being clogged with freight traffic and lorries having to ‘drive around’ until there is space.

Deputy Ó Murchú also raised the issue of how the French port of Calais has not allowed for an exemption for Irish goods exported through the land bridge in Britain.

Tanáiste Leo Varadkar said he would meet the French minister for European Affairs at the weekend to discuss this and other issues.

Meanwhile, Minister Paschal Donohoe has revealed, following a parliamentary question from Deputy Ó Murchú that, according to Revenue, ‘1,374 businesses in Co. Louth are currently registered for customs and therefore have an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number’.

Revenue has also said that ‘94% of imports from and 99% of exports to the UK in 2019 undertaken by businesses in Co. Louth were undertaken by businesses that have an EORI number’.

In addition, the minister said that Revenue initially determined that it required 600 additional staff.

In the period between September 2018 and October 2019, Revenue assigned over 580 staff to Brexit related roles. Revenue recently re-assessed its requirements and determined that it will require approximately 300 staff in addition to the 600 already approved.

Revenue is currently recruiting and training these staff and that as an integrated tax and customs administration, it will deploy resources to quickly confront any risks as they emerge.

O Murchú: Brexit – playing poker with a man who doesn’t play by the rules

The Brexit brinkmanship from the British government has been compared to ‘playing poker with a guy who doesn’t keep the rules’, a Dundalk TD has told the Dáil.

Sinn Féin’s Ruairí Ó Murchú was speaking in Leinster House this week ahead of the proposed Internal Markets Bill was put before Westminster, which was described by the North’s Secretary of State Brandon Lewis as ‘a breach of international law in a specific and limited way’.

The Dundalk TD said: ‘It is unacceptable that we could have a British Government that is basically saying that it is OK for them to break international law.

‘It’s like playing poker with a guy who never keeps the rules.

‘We thought that this was the British Government setting a negotiating stance and then we had the news that Jonathan Jones, the head of the British Government legal team resigned in relation to this.

‘We need an answer in terms of what the EU and Irish Government is going to do’.

He said there was huge worry about what the British government intentions are, particularly in Dundalk.

The Louth deputy said: ‘We are worried that if they are willing to circumvent the Irish protocol and the Withdrawal Agreement, that we will have difficulties into the future.

‘People in border areas like Dundalk are very worried about what the future is going to hold, not just from a business point of view, but a societal one.

‘We do not want to see any sort of infrastructure or any sort of checks along the border. It’s utterly unacceptable given the history that we have, particularly in my area. 

Deputy Ó Murchú said he welcomed what Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney had to say about the government’s reaction to the situation.

He said: I welcome what Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney has said about the anger of the government.

I also welcome his comments about the mitigations involved in the Withdrawal Agreement and in relation to the Irish Protocol regarding the single market and customs union,  in terms of business.

‘We do not need to impact on people’s lives and it’s unacceptable, that must be pointed out to the EU.

‘The Irish Government must remain firm. If we have a circumvention of the Irish Protocol and all that can come from that, and if we do not have those protections, it will be utterly unacceptable by the people that there will be any impositions in relation to border checks or infrastructure’.

Brexit Demo As Boris has Breakfast in Dublin

Sinn Féin Louth councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has attended a demonstration at Leinster House in Dublin this morning to coincide with the meeting of the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. 
Speaking from the event Cllr Ó Murchú said,
“It is clear from the words and actions of Boris Johnson that he simply does not care about how Brexit will impact on the people of this island. 
“The fact that it has taken Mr Johnson 6 weeks to meet An Taoiseach is further evidence of the distain with which he has treated the Irish people. 
“People have attended here this morning in large numbers to register their fears for the hugely negative consequences of any type of Brexit on this country. 
“Border Communities Against Brexit have also attended this demonstration and it is clear that for people living, working and raising families in border areas in particular a hard Brexit would be catastrophic. 
“The Taoiseach must make it clear to Boris Johnson that the backstop is absolutely essential and furthermore he must urgently begin planing for Irish reunification.”

Small businesses in Louth must get Brexit ready – Ó Murchú

Sinn Féin councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú attended a Brexit briefing event on Wednesday morning in the Imperial Hotel, Dundalk, hosted by ISME, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprise representative body. 

Councillor Ó Murchú said,

“The Brexit briefing was well attended. I spoke to a number of these business people and I know they found the session useful and informative. 

“InterTradeIreland have reported that only a tiny percentage of businesses are prepared for Brexit. I can understand that owners of small enterprises are often busy juggling many roles within the business and don’t necessarily have the luxury of employing a Brexit co-ordinator  or contracting in specialist assistance.  

“The message from ISME’s Neil McDonnell is that small firms need to examine supply chains two suppliers up, and two customers down and plan accordingly.

“InterTradeIreland’s Denise Marron highlighted to attendees their Brexit voucher scheme, valued at €2,250 which is available to SMEs to purchase specialised expertise. I encourage business owners to follow up on this as it could save them money and add to their Brexit preparedness.

“Businesses should contact the Local Enterprise Office or InterTradeIreland in relation to this or other Brexit aids.  Info relating to these combined with other Brexit preparation resources are easily available on the LEO, InterTradeIreland and Enterprise Ireland’s websites. 

“The event also focused on the customs implications of a no deal Brexit.  

“This scenario looks increasingly likely following Boris Johnson’s dreadful decision to suspend the British parliament for 5 weeks. 

“The advice from Customs Broker, Derek Dunne is that businesses involved in cross border and cross channel imports and exports need to prepare for the customs declaration system they will have to operate. 

“The requirements will be to have a EORI number (European Union registration and identification number) alongside a ROS digital certificate from Revenue. They also need to identify their commodity codes to know the appropriate tariffs applicable to the goods they use. People should use the tariff checker facility on the InterTradeIreland website.

“Irish businesses should not trust in the promises of British politicians regarding the free flow of goods and services across the border after Brexit, particularly after the recent leaks from the British side.

“There is no good Brexit for Irish business but I urge companies to do all they can now to mitigate against the known issues Brexit will present.”

Boris Johnson must respect the Remain Vote – Ó Murchú

Sinn Féin general election candidate for Louth, Cllr Ruairí Ó Murchú, has travelled to Belfast this morning to participate in a demonstration to coincide with the visit of the new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Councillor Ó Murchú said;

“I have travelled to Belfast this morning with many others who, like me, want to show their opposition to Brexit and to the attitude of the new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“Mr Johnson’s comments that he will abolish the ‘backstop’ and that he is prepared for Britain to withdraw from the EUwith no deal in place will have devastating consequences for the people of this island.

“A report published last month by the British Government indicated 142 areas of co-operation between the 26 counties and the north and between the island of Ireland and Britain.  Brexit jeopardises all of this.

“A report published just two weeks ago by the North’s Department for the Economy predicts 40,000 jobs at risk in the event of a no deal Brexit.  

“Job losses of that magnitude will have a ripple effect right across this country.

“It is absolutely incumbent on the Irish Government, while remaining steadfast in support of the withdrawal agreement and the backstop, to prepare for a hard Brexit and to outline a financial package for vulnerable sectors in the event that this occurs.

“The other imperative for the Irish Government is to prepare for Irish Unity.

“Irish Unity is a realistic and legitimate aspiration and it is now a daily topic of discussion.

“The reunification of Ireland is not only desirable in the event of a hard Brexit, but growing economic opinions state the financial benefits which unity could bring.  

“It is the responsibility of the Irish Government to actively explore this possibility.”