Ireland threatens to scupper Brexit: Dublin wins support of Germany to block UK’s EU exit

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Ireland has threatened to scupper Brexit if Britain does not adhere to the “backstop” Irish border agreement reached between Westminster and the European Union in December.

Dublin will block any withdrawal treaty if it fails to include a satisfactory agreement is put in place to prevent a hard border emerging on the island of Ireland.

Germany has signed up to support the Irish demands of a “backstop”, with Germany’s new federal minister making the pledge to Simon Coveney in Dublin.

During Heiko Maas’ meeting with Ireland’s deputy prime minister, the German expressed solidarity with Dublin.

Mr Maas said: “I do understand the need that we do whatever we can in order to avoid a flaring up of a historic conflict.

“We have to do everything we can to avoid the glimmer of seeing something like a hard border become reality.”

Mr Coveney reaffirmed he only sees the “backstop”, which would see Northern Ireland forced to align with much of the EU’s rules, as a “fall-back” position.

However, he expressed his pleasure at Germany’s position, declaring it “very, very reassuring”.

He added: “We have got unambiguous solidarity today from the largest country in the European Union and that is hugely appreciated on the Irish border issue.

“The idea that anybody could be talking about the re-emergence of physical border infrastructure on the island of Ireland is something that we simply can’t allow to go unchallenged or unchecked.”

The Irish deputy then presented his starkest warning to Britain, declaring the country’s withdrawal could be blocked if they fail to deliver a satisfactory solution for the Irish border.

Mr Coveney said: “There will be no withdrawal treaty if there is no backstop on the Irish border in that treaty.”

Mr Maas added: “We don’t want to see anything close to a hard border, it’ not going to be a beneficial development, so Mr Coveney enjoys our full support.

“We believe that to be a question with regard to which Great Britain has to take a decision.”