BREXIT UPDATE: EU leaders back Ireland’s refusal to amend deal
BRITISH prime minister Theresa May arrived in Brussels today desperately seeking help to sell the deal she agreed with the EU to her bitterly divided Conservative party and parliament.
However, EU leaders have so far backed Ireland’s refusal to amend the deal, despite indicating they want to help the beleaguered British leader.
EU leaders have ruled out any re-negotiation of last month’s package intended to ease Britain out of the bloc in March.
Ms May, who met with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar earlier today, is seeking legal assurances that the Irish backstop would not remain in place indefinitely. The backstop is an emergency fix to prevent extensive border checks on the island of Ireland and is the most contentious element of the deal.
However, the Irish Government is remaining firm in its refusal to countenance any changes to the backstop, which could result in the return of a hard border on the island.
Ms May Brussels mission to lobby European leaders for help comes after she survived a parliamentary mutiny that highlighted the deadlock over Brexit.
“We need to get this deal over the line,” she told reporters on arrival for two days of summit meetings.
She said she had “heard loud and clear” the concerns of party rebels who tried to unseat her over the Brexit deal she agreed with leaders last month.
Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel embraced May on the summit doorstep, saying: “I really want to help her.”
But when pressed on whether the EU would let Britain crash out chaotically without a deal, Bettel said there was no way to renegotiate and insisted: “Brexit was the choice of the UK.”
He added that rather than a no-deal chaos, however, he would rather Britons vote again to reverse the 2016 Brexit referendum.
Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil has accused Tánaiste Simon Coveney of offering a “pathetic” response to questions raised about the government’s contingency planning for Brexit.
The party’s deputy leader Dara Calleary claimed answers to his queries in the Dáil were “Andrex Puppy” responses, describing them as “soft and fluffy”.
Mr Coveney said he was surprised at Mr Calleary’s remarks telling the Opposition politician it “shows you don’t know what you’re talking about”.
Fianna Fáil has been putting pressure on the Government to publish details of the government’s plans in the doomsday scenario of a no-deal Brexit.