Taoiseach tells ministers Brexit deadline ‘to be extended until June’


Taoiseach tells ministers Brexit deadline ‘to be extended until June’

Taoiseach tells ministers of ‘new deadline’

Prospect of extension: Leo Varadkar
Prospect of extension: Leo Varadkar

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has privately told ministers he believes the deadline for Britain leaving the EU will be extended to June.

The Taoiseach’s private comments follow EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier indicating that he does not believe the UK will have enough time to approve a withdrawal deal by the scheduled exit date of March 29.

Prime Minster Theresa May has faced an angry backlash from hard-line Brexiteers over the prospect of extending the deadline.

However, the Taoiseach has indicated to his most senior ministers that the most realistic prospect at this point is an extension as Ms May is unlikely to get a withdrawal deal through parliament in time.

A Cabinet minister speaking on the grounds of anonymity yesterday told the Sunday Independent: “The Taoiseach has privately said to us that it is very likely there will be an extension until June.”

Extending the deadline beyond June would cause complications for the EU Parliament elections in May. If the extension was any longer, Britain may have to put forward candidates for the election.

Last Friday, the Taoiseach said he believed it was now unlikely Britain would crash out of the EU.

Speaking in Belfast, he said: “I don’t want to say too much about it at this stage but I think that the United Kingdom crashing out of the European Union without a deal on the 29th of March is unlikely. I think we either will have a deal or we’ll have an extension.”

However, his private comments suggest he is leaning towards an extension.

The prospect of a three-month extension to the Brexit withdrawal date comes as Cabinet ministers prepare to meet for an informal discussion on the prospect of Britain crashing out of the EU.

Ministers will gather tomorrow night in the State’s official residence Farmleigh for a dinner event where Brexit and other government matters will be discussed.


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The meeting comes ahead of two formal Cabinet meetings this week – one which is being held on International Women’s Day and will deal exclusively with gender issues.

The schedule for the March 8 meeting includes Cabinet discussion on the gender pay gap, parental leave and a new action plan for women’s health. Ministers will also discuss domestic violence and the controversial “women’s place in the home” section of the Constitution.

Meanwhile, in Farmleigh tomorrow night, the Cabinet will discuss ongoing preparations for a disorderly Brexit which will have serious consequences for the Irish economy.

Sunday Independent


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