Ireland publishes no-deal Brexit bill it hopes it won't need

The Irish government has published legislation designed to ease the damage if Britain leaves the European Union without a deal — but says it hopes the law will never be needed.

The government plans to fast-track the bill through Ireland's parliament before the U.K.'s scheduled departure on March 29.

As a major trading partner of Britain, and the only EU country sharing a land border with the U.K., Ireland faces a huge economic hit if a "no-deal" Brexit introduces tariffs, customs checks and other barriers.

Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney said Friday that the bill would try to "offset the worst effects of a disorderly Brexit" by supporting businesses and ensuring citizens can access services.

But he said "my only desire is to see this legislation sit on the shelf."