On Tuesday evening, the parliament of Ireland made preparations to start the discussions over a set of blockbuster no-deal Brexit laws. It aims to pass them before the United Kingdom leaves the European Union at the end of next month.
The new laws are contained in one single “omnibus” bill. It will cover topics including cross-border health services with Northern Ireland, supports for vulnerable businesses, and the supply of electricity, among other things.
The lower house of the Irish parliament is scheduled to sit later than usual for three nights to make sure that it has enough time to consider the legislation. The 70-page bill must go through 11 stages before the Brexit due date. It was prepared by nine government departments.
The “landmark” bill is set to amend 15 other pieces of legislation. It will also provide solutions for the welfare recipients of Ireland who are currently living in the United Kingdom, as well as the Irish employees of British firms that enter insolvency proceedings.
The process in Ireland starts as Theresa May, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, said on Tuesday that she would be proposing two votes in the House of Commons — on avoiding a no-deal scenario or delaying Brexit — if the MPs turn down her Brexit deal next month.
Talking after the publication of the bill last week, Simon Coveney, the Irish foreign minister, said that a disorderly Brexit would be a “lose, lose, lose” situation for the United Kingdom, the European Union, and Ireland.
Coveney stated: “We cannot offset all the damage it will do, but we are doing everything we can.
Last week, the foreign minister said that the vulnerable beef industry of Ireland would get “substantial amounts of money” in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Coveney stated: “If it comes to it, this government will not be found wanting to support and work with this sector, should a no-deal Brexit materialise.”
The legislative process for this bill is regarded as an example of cross-party cooperation in Ireland. The opposition parties of the country have been almost entirely supportive of the Brexit negotiating position of the government.
Last December, Fianna Fáil, which props up the minority government of Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in parliament, agreed to extend its supply-and-confidence deal until after the Brexit process had been completed.