"A British choice" - Simon Coveney puts the ball in Boris Johnson's court on no-deal Brexit
'We have a deal... a new British Prime Minister doesn't change that.'
Simon Coveney was a guest on The Andrew Marr Show on BBC on Sunday, where the Tánaiste went some way to summing up the current Brexit ordeal in calm and reasonable terms.
"Everybody loses in a no-deal Brexit scenario," he noted, before Marr stated that this is the very situation that everyone is currently heading towards.
Coveney challenged this, pointing out that if the House of Commons opts in favour of facilitating a no-deal Brexit and if the new British Prime Minister - Boris Johnson is widely expected to be announced in the role in the coming days - favours that approach, then a no-deal Brexit will indeed happen.
"But this will be a British choice," Coveney underlined.
"Not an Irish choice. Not an EU choice. This is a British choice.
"We all want to avoid a no-deal Brexit," he continued.
"We have worked for three years to try to do that. I have done very little else in politics apart from focus on the choice of the British people to leave the European Union and its impact on Ireland and the EU.
"We want to try to resolve these issues but we won't do it on the basis of being told what must happen because that is the only thing that can pass in the House of Commons."
At which point, Coveney effectively laid down a marker for the incoming Prime Minister.
"Any negotiation, international negotiation, needs to involve compromise on both sides," he said.
"We have a deal that has involved compromise on both sides, to facilitate - let's not forget - British red lines throughout this process, and a new British Prime Minister doesn't change that."
Asked about checks, Coveney said that they will need to be established in the event of a no-deal Brexit, but it is his intention to place such a system away from the border in order to avoid security risks.
"There will need to be checks somewhere," he said.
"We are working out with the European Commission how that will work. "
Irish Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney on a no deal #Brexit: “If a new British prime minister chooses to take Britain in that direction then it will happen. This is a British choice… We have a deal” #Marr https://t.co/t0MDV6PLe6 pic.twitter.com/LYleZZHNPM
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) July 21, 2019