Taoiseach rules out bilateral – or does he?

RTE is reporting that Taoiseach Enda Kenny ruled out the sort of bilateral deal with the UK suggested in the House of Lords report earlier this week. What he actually said was: “Obviously a bilateral deal is not available in the context of Ireland being a member of the EU negotiating team.” (If Simon Coveney was asked about the Fine Gael leadership and dismissed the question by saying there was no vacancy, it is unlikely he would be reported to have ruled it out.) It is indeed obvious that such a deal is not available and the Noble Lords knew that, which is why their proposal was so tentatively framed. However, the fact remains that all those statements about Ireland’s special situation, all the way up to Michel Barnier, must eventually be rolled out on the ground in some way or other. It is far too early for anyone to say anything but at some point the Lords proposal must surely be taken up and looked at carefully.