Angry exchanges in Dáil as government accused of suppressing details of Brexit report

There have been angry exchanges in the Dáil today over the budget and Brexit.

During proceedings the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was accused of suppressing a report on the dire effects of Brexit.

The report on the challenges of an open border post-Brexit came from the Revenue Commissioners and was leaked last week.

Speaking earlier this week on the report, Fianna Fáil's Brexit spokesperson, Stephen Donnelly, said: "The Revenue Commissioners’ report outlines clearly the task facing Ireland in terms of Brexit, and on the basis of this report, it’s very hard to come to any other conclusion that we are heading for a hard border."

Mr Varadkar said the report was from 2015 and he’d only seen it in the last week.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin, who has been accused of being disorderly in the Dáil today, said he believed the government had deliberately withheld information and that the public had a right to know what was in the report.

"Do you not think traders, the 91,000 companies need to know this kind of stuff? Do you not think the general public need to know it? They do need to know this."

The Taoiseach, however, said the Government would not be preparing for something they are trying to prevent.

"Is Fianna Fáil actually arguing now that we should start training up border guards? That we should start getting dogs ready? That we should start checking out sites for border posts?"

"Of course we're doing desktop studies as to what may happen, but we're not going to do what Fianna Fáil seems to be suggesting, which is actually start preparing for something we are trying to prevent. "

On budgetary matters Richard Boyd Barrett made an accusation that the social houses announced in yesterday's budget had previously been revealed.

"The defences against homelessness are collapsing, and against that background you offer nothing new, except a hoax, pretending you're giving something new when it's already been announced," said the People Before Profit TD.

"Do you honestly think that's acceptable faced with this housing emergency?"

Leo Varadkar cited increased spending on homelessness and the €750 million to get Ireland building with the new agency Home Building Finance Ireland as huge new initiatives in response to Mr Boyd Barrett's question.

In Paschal Donohoe's budget speech yesterday, an extra €500m for direct building programme was announced that will see 3,000 additional new build social houses by 2021.

Mr Varadkar also said that announcing things prior to the budget speech is "the normal course of events."


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