IRELAND'S LEADING political parties have reacted with a mixture of concern and fury to the news of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament.
Johnson yesterday asked the British Queen to suspend the House of Commons for five weeks.
The movie has been widely viewed as a power play to try and restrict the ability of MPs to block a no-deal Brexit.
The UK parliament is set to be prorogued from September 9 until October 14.
At that point the Queen’s speech will reopen it, leaving ministers with just three days before a crucial Brexit summit.
The move has sparked Taoiseach Leo Varadkar faces demands from Green leader Eamon Ryan and some Labour figures to recall the Dáil ahead of schedule and boost any emergency government funds ahead of hard Brexit.
"I am asking Leo Varadkar to use his powers under standing order 26 to initiate an early return of the Dail," Ryan wrote on Twitter.
"We need to debate what is happening with Brexit and have full transparency in our response to the evolving crisis in Westminster."
I am asking @LeoVaradkar to use his powers under standing order 26 to initiate an early return of the Dail. We need to debate what is happening with Brexit and have full transparency in our response to the evolving crisis in Westminster. pic.twitter.com/bTtzkoYIYz
— Eamon Ryan (@EamonRyan) August 28, 2019
Others were less convinced with Fianna Fáil Brexit spokeswoman Lisa Chambers telling the Irish Examiner:
“I think we should leave the drama to Westminster. It would be bizarre for the Dáil to have a special sitting to discuss the House of Commons not sitting.”
However, she did call on preparations for the likely no-deal to be ramped up including concrete plans for the kind of border checks farmers and exporters can expect.
A spokesperson for the Taoiseach dismissed the idea of recalling the Dáil early, telling reporters: “The Irish parliament’s schedule shouldn’t be dictated by British political matters.”
Tánaiste Simon Coveney meanwhile insisted his focus was on maintaining peace in Ireland.
"My focus is on protecting... a peace agreement that is 21 years old," he told the BBC.
"We have a British government that seems to be simply wiping the slate clean on the Irish issue in terms of the commitments that they have made.
He added: "We want a sensible deal, based on the negotiations that have taken place over the last three years."
Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster said her party supported the plan.
"The Prime Minister's decision to prorogue Parliament for an extra four days is democratic and entirely sensible," she wrote in the Belfast Telegraph.
"Those shouting the loudest about the Prime Minister are missing the mood of the public. Men and women trying to get on with their lives are tired of the process arguments."
We welcome the decision to hold a Queen’s Speech marking the start of a new session of Parliament on 14 October where the Government will set out its new domestic legislative agenda. pic.twitter.com/A9TiFqiA0A
— Arlene Foster #We’llMeetAgain (@DUPleader) August 28, 2019
Conservative MP Simon Hoare, the chair of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, disagreed, claiming Johnson's suspension of Parliament next week "ignores the needs of Northern Ireland".
"This can’t be overestimated," he tweeted. "We have key NI legislation with reporting duties placed on Ministers. Suspending Parliament ignores (deliberately?) the needs of NI. The Island of Ireland needs a Deal. Tory Unionism needs to be more than a slogan on a badge. It needs to be our DNA."
This can’t be overestimated. We have key NI legislation with reporting duties placed on Ministers. Suspending Parliament ignores (deliberately?) the needs of NI. The Island of Ireland needs a Deal. Tory Unionism needs to be more than a slogan on a badge. It needs to be our DNA https://t.co/qQTwnVCnB9
— Simon Hoare MP (@Simon4NDorset) August 29, 2019
Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald described the move by Johnson as a demonstration of "his clear intent to force through a no-deal Brexit, regardless of the consequences for Ireland; north or south.
“It shows the arrogance of the British government and their contempt even for their own political institutions and it is very clear that Irish interests will never be protected at Westminster.
“The fact is that Brexit is incompatible with the Good Friday Agreement and the Tories have shown a total and callous disregard for our country and the democratically expressed wishes of the people of the north to remain in the EU. The need to protect Irish interests is paramount."