Sunday 19 November 2017

FF dismisses May's 'we'll walk away' warning

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May. Photo: PA
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May. Photo: PA
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Fianna Fáil has dismissed claims by British Prime Minister Theresa May that the UK could end up pulling out of the Brexit negotiations without a deal.

Mrs May yesterday said she expects the upcoming negotiations with the EU will be "tough" and that she is prepared to walk away from the talks if she does not like what is on offer from Brussels.

"What this shows, and what some of the other comments we've seen coming from European leaders shows, is that there are going to be times when these negotiations are going to be tough," Mrs May told the BBC.

The Tory leader issued the warning after the 27 EU heads of state agreed a set of stiff terms ahead of the formal negotiation process.

The guidelines included a commitment that Northern Ireland could rejoin the EU in the event of a united Ireland, which is being viewed as a significant political win for Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

However, Mrs May's warning that she could walk away from the talks has significantly raised the stakes as the divorce period gets under way.

Speaking on RTÉ's 'The Week in Politics', Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan expressed concern over the remarks, adding: "Brexit is bad for the UK, bad for Europe, and bad for Ireland."

Read more: Bertie Ahern warns against trying to force a border poll in Northern Ireland

But Fianna Fáil last night dismissed Mrs May's warning that the UK could pull out of talks.

"The British brought about this situation and it is important Theresa May and her government are reminded of that," the party's Foreign Affairs spokesman Darragh O'Brien told the Irish Independent.

"The idea that she would simply walk away with nothing and allow Britain to go off a cliff is not going to happen," he added.

Meanwhile, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has expressed his fears that the two sides could fail to strike a deal at all.

"I'm leaving Downing Street 10 times more sceptical than I was before," Mr Juncker is quoted as telling Germany's 'FAS' newspaper.

Mr Juncker and chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier met Mrs May over dinner on Wednesday.

Irish Independent

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