In the unlikely event that anyone was in any doubt, after hearing the Taoiseach’s combative tone in Washington DC it is clear that patience with the UK government has run out in Dublin.
Today Leo Varadkar spent around 20 minutes with the press answering questions on Brexit and the latest tariff proposals by the UK government.
In summary the message was: The UK is chaos, Ireland is prepared for a no-deal Brexit, those in favour of Brexit but who voted against the Withdrawal Agreement were chasing unicorns and it’s not too late to stay in the Customs Union.
He defended the tone of his remarks in an interview with RTÉ's Washington Correspondent this evening:
"It think the right tone at the moment is to be straight with people and I think if some of those who promoted Brexit along the way had been honest and straight with their own people, with themselves, we wouldn’t be in this mess."
Chaos in the UK was referenced before the questions from the press even began.
Mr Varadkar outlined the message he would be bringing to US politicians and business people:
"No matter what happens, regardless of the uncertainty in the United Kingdom that Ireland will be staying within the European Union at the heart of the common European home we helped to build, founder members of the single market, a good and reliable partner for the United States that is certain about its place in the world when perhaps other countries are not and are somewhat in chaos."
Then there was a mixture of bemusement and a warning of the negative consequences if the UK were to bring in a tariff regime after a no deal Brexit:
"There is a supreme irony in that the proposals produced by the British government today propose to treat Northern Ireland differently from the United Kingdom when it comes to customs and you’ll be aware that many of those who voted against the backstop, they did so on the basis that they feared that Northern Ireland may be treated differently in a few years' time.
"The UK government proposals will treat Northern Ireland in a few weeks’ time in terms of customs rules and regulations.
"And also as you’ll be aware while the UK may propose tariffs in a no deal scenario, the EU will also.
"The common external tariff will apply to any goods being exported from the UK and from Britain and so that will have a serious impact on the British economy and the economy of Northern Ireland as well."
In Brian O'Donovan's interview tonight, Leo Varadkar was also asked if the UK's unveiling of tariff proposals was designed to put Ireland under pressure. 'No pressure here' was the message:
"I think that it’s evident from events across the water that its the UK that’s under pressure. The UK government in particular is under pressure with members of the governing party and many cabinet ministers not voting with the government so I think they’re the ones that are under pressure, not us.
We don’t want no deal but we have been preparing for no deal for nearly two years now. We’ve passed the legislation we need to pass or it’s in the Seanad and it will pass quite soon. We’ve made sure the Common Travel Area and everything that comes with it is protected no matter what and we’ve put in place a package of measures which can be approved by cabinet if we have to to support our exporters, our farmers, our business people to ensure that incomes and jobs are protected and also so that businesses can re-orient themselves towards new markets.
And as well as that we’ve worked really hard for the last couple of years to make sure that our country is able to withstand any shocks that might happen. We have a budget surplus, which means we have the capacity to borrow if we need to. The NTMA has built up a substantial cash pile should there be trouble on the bond markets, the banks are well capitalised. So nobody wants to be in a no deal scenario but we’re much better prepared for it than they are in the UK, you can be sure of that."
Earlier in the press conference, diplomatic language was also put aside in a pointed criticism of those who advocated for Brexit but voted against the Withdrawal Agreement:
"I think a lot of people who advocated Brexit have been chasing unicorns for a very long time`and as we head into the next few weeks it should be patently obvious to everyone that unicorns only exist in fairytales.
"And I would say to people who advocated for Brexit: Is this really what they wanted? Protectionism, tariffs, borders restrictions on trade - is this really what Brexit was all about?
And for those who voted against the Withdrawal Agreement on the basis that they feared Northern Ireland would be treated differently as a result of the backstop, it must be evident to them now, the UK government’s intention to treat Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the United Kingdom and to do so in only two or three weeks' time."
There are plenty of options now for the UK, the Taoiseach said, but gave only one example - that of remaining in the Customs Union:
"There are now lots of options: The parliament in Westminster in London can take no deal off the table this evening and if they do so then there is the potential to look at alternatives. For example the United Kingdom staying in the Customs Union.
"Why do we need any tariffs between the UK and Europe, North, South, East, West or anywhere? The Customs Union was invented in order to ensure that we had tariff-free trade across the EU. Who actually wants these tariffs?"
As to whether the UK could secure more concessions between now and the end of the month, Leo Varadkar said it would be a futile exercise to even try:
"From the point of view of Ireland and the point of view of the EU, we really went the extra mile in the last couple of days to try to get the Withdrawal Agreement over the line, to try to give the British government and the British parliament the assurances that they needed. That’s failed.
"That didn’t work and we have no confidence now that any further assurances would work either so there’s no point in the British government asking for changes or further concessions because they’ve demonstrated twice now that they’re unable to get an agreement, once made, over the line, so there’s no point in them asking for anything else."