British government claim Taoiseach is ‘wrong’ to say British planes could not fly over Ireland if ‘no-deal’ Brexit happens

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British government claim Taoiseach is ‘wrong’ to say British planes could not fly over Ireland if ‘no-deal’ Brexit happens


Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Brian Lawless/PA)
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Brian Lawless/PA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is “wrong” to suggest British aircraft would be barred from his country’s airspace in the event of a no-deal Brexit, Downing Street has said.

So-called “overflight rights” are guaranteed by international treaties rather than EU membership, a Number 10 spokeswoman said after the Taoiseach claimed a hard departure by the UK would mean “planes would not fly”.



Taoiseach Leo Varadkar pictured as he arrived before the start of the Cabinet meeting at Derrynane house, Co Kerry. Photo: Frank McGrathTaoiseach Leo Varadkar pictured as he arrived before the start of the Cabinet meeting at Derrynane house, Co Kerry. Photo: Frank McGrath

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar pictured as he arrived before the start of the Cabinet meeting at Derrynane house, Co Kerry. Photo: Frank McGrath
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar pictured with Martin Frazer, Secretary General Dept of Taoiseach and Joe McHugh Chief Whip under a portrait of Daniel O Connell, before the start of the Cabinet meeting at Derrynane house, Co Kerry. Photo: Frank McGrath
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar speaking at Derrynane house, Co Kerry, after a Cabinet meeting. Photo: Frank McGrath

The spokeswoman said the UK was confident of reaching a deal that included “aviation access” but added: “It’s wrong to claim that Ireland could simply stop the UK from flying over its land as a result of Brexit.

“The reason we say that is because overflight rights are not guaranteed by the EU, rather by multilateral treaty which both ourselves and Ireland have signed up to.”

Speaking in Co Kerry on Wednesday, Mr Varadkar said a no-deal Brexit would see Britain leave the Single European Sky programme, which co-ordinates flights, adding: “If they want their planes to fly over our sky, they would need to take that into account.”

He added: “The situation at the moment is that the UK is part of the Single European Sky and if they leave the EU they are not.



Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: PATaoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: PA

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: PA

“And that does mean if there was a no-deal hard Brexit next March, the planes would not fly and Britain would be an island in many ways – and that is something they need to think about.”

Read more here: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar branded ‘EU Toady’ and ‘Air Head’ by British Sun newspaper

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