– They are putting the cart before the horse in a lot of their negotiations –

Fianna Fáil TD for Louth and East Meath Declan Breathnach, Spokesperson on North South Bodies and Cross-Border Co-Operation, has said that while there were encouraging signals in the EU Brexit Paper on Ireland, the UK position is still very worrying.

“The EU Commission clearly recognises the scale of the challenge facing Ireland and Northern Ireland post-Brexit. Michel Barnier spoke at length on Thursday on the worrying aspects of the UK’s negotiations with the EU. Creativity and flexibility cannot be at the expense of EU. We need first to agree on the political context. Britain keeps trying to put cart before horse. The UK, and indeed Ireland want no hard border but this may not suit the rest of the EU”.

“The UK wants to use Ireland as a kind of test case for the future on a soft border. Michael Barnier has stated that this will not happen. Creativity will not set a precedent for anyone else thinking of leaving the EU, he said. So Barnier and the EU are sending a clear message that the UK needs to fix this problem.”

“There can’t be an arrangement on customs for Ireland until the broader idea of the wider relationship with the EU is sorted out. It looks like the talks will not be ready to move on to the next stage in October as there is still no agreement on many important issues, including the UK contribution to the EU budget. I welcome Michel Barnier’s assertion that the EU will honour PEACE and INTERREG funding commitments and that he expects the UK to do the same.”

“The UK are insisting on retaining equal benefits on trade while taking back full autonomy. If they think they can have full integration into the single market and also have full autonomy they can’t, according to Barnier this week.”

“Until the British Government are willing and able to accept that they have to make that choice, and realise that they can’t have it any way they want then the negotiations are not going to have a satisfactory conclusion.”

“We are now facing the prospect that our single economy on the island of Ireland is being divided possibly with borders and barriers to trade. This will have a great impact on the ability of the whole island to trade seamlessly with Britain.”

“Britain has the primary responsibility to solve the problems of the position of Northern Ireland. The progress of the negotiations to date has been positive for Ireland and it’s important that the momentum is maintained in the months ahead.”

-Ends-

Johanna Walsh, Office of Declan Breathnach T.D., Leinster House, Dublin 2

(T) 01 6183549 (Email) declan.breathnach@oireachtas.ie (Declan – 087 2697638)