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Statement by An Taoiseach following today’s House of Commons vote

The Government notes the decision of the House of Commons to reject the Withdrawal Agreement. It is now up to the UK to indicate how it plans to proceed in order to avoid a No Deal scenario.

The European Council has agreed unanimously that the Withdrawal Agreement will not be re-opened.

Ireland has been preparing intensively for a No Deal scenario. But no one should under-estimate the difficulties that a No Deal will present, for all of us, including the UK. It is not clear that the UK has fully understood that No Deal is not off the agenda. Rather, it’s a growing possibility.

We welcome the decision of President Donald Tusk to call a European Council meeting. I will have the opportunity to meet one-to-one with President Macron and Chancellor Merkel before that. I will also speak to other Heads of Government by phone. It is now incumbent on the UK to chart a realistic way forward for consideration at that Council meeting.

I believe we must be open to a long extension should the United Kingdom decide to fundamentally reconsider its approach to Brexit and put back on the table options previously ruled out. I believe that will result in a generous and understanding response from the 27.