7 May 2020
By Bryan Smyth
Simon Coveney is a man with much on his plate. The Fine Gael stalwart from Carrigaline, Co Cork has three titles being: 1) a TD for Cork South Central, and 2) Tánaiste (or for the benefit of UK readers the ‘Deputy Prime Minister’ of Ireland) and 3) Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, the latter meaning he has responsibility for Brexit in Irish Government.
Much attention is currently focused on COVID19, and whether or not the Leaving Cert will be cancelled, but today Deputy Coveney made a 15-minute statement on Brexit in the Dáil, which he said “hasn’t gone away” despite the COVID19 crisis. The Tánaiste provided a useful overview of Ireland’s Brexit stance.
Brexit is- understandable – a very complex topic but it can be summarised as follows: On 23 June 2016, Britain voted to leave the EU. On 23 January 2020 the ‘European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020’ received royal assent, and thus became law in the UK. The following day Prime Minister Boris Johnson signed the Withdrawl Agreement which had been sent from Brussels. As things stand the UK is in a “transition period” (this is why your ParcelMotel packages can still arrive tax-free from Northern Ireland as the UK is still participating in the single market), and will totally separate from the EU on 31 December 2020.