US Northern Ireland envoy Mick Mulvaney said Ireland’s Foreign Minister told him Brussels would use the threats of a block on airline flights to force Westminster and Dublin to impose a ‘hard border’ in case of a no-deal Brexit.
Ireland’s prime minister has dodged the question of whether Brussels would block airline flights from the UK if Downing Street doesn’t give in to its demands.
Taoiseach Micheal Martin was forced to answer to revelations by US President Donald Trump’s Northern Ireland envoy Mick Mulvaney, that Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney had told him the EU could “make life very difficult” for flag carrier British Airways if it does not get its way.
Barnier represents the European Commission, which is locked in last-ditch talks for a trade deal with the UK before the Brexit transition period ends on December 31. The European Council is not directly involved, but member states can veto the deal.
Speaking at a virtual conference of think-tank the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) in Dublin on Thursday, Mulvaney said he had asked Coveney if Brussels would punich the Republic of Ireland with trade restrictions if it refused to impose a ‘hard border’ with Northern Ireland in case of a no-deal Brexit.
Such a border could be ruled a breach of the Good Friday Agreement that ended decades of sectarian terrorism in the North. But some claim keeping the flow of largely agricultural goods across the land border…