Sunday 22 September 2019

Coveney insists onus is on UK to come up with a Border solution

Tanaiste Simon Coveney. Photo: Colin Keegan / Collins Dublin
Tanaiste Simon Coveney. Photo: Colin Keegan / Collins Dublin
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Tánaiste Simon Coveney has moved to pile pressure on London to find a way of maintaining an open Border in the event of a hard Brexit.

Amid growing concerns that Border infrastructure will become unavoidable after Brexit, Mr Coveney said the UK has obligations under the Good Friday Agreement which must be upheld.

And he suggested that those in the House of Commons who are opposed to the so-called backstop, including Jacob Rees-Mogg, should study Irish history.

"This is all happening because of a decision the United Kingdom has made that Ireland is trying to respond to in a reasonable and respectful way to protect our own interests.

"Primary responsibility here lies in London, not in Dublin, in relation to contingency in the absence of being able to ratify a deal that the British government signed up. I think it's important that's where the focus should remain," Mr Coveney said.

He noted Prime Minister Theresa May had said "many times that physical border infrastructure should not and cannot re-emerge on the island of Ireland".

Asked by the Irish Independent how Ireland plans to avoid a hard Border in the event that the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal, Mr Coveney said nothing would happen in that area while the Withdrawal Agreement was on the table.

"For us to be exploring or talking about other options that are not easily put together is not wise," he said.

The Foreign Affairs Minister urged MPs who are opposed to the backstop to educate themselves on the history of Northern Ireland.

He said they "need to remind themselves of the violence and tragedy and division".

Irish Independent

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