Sunday 22 September 2019

'No basis for reopening of serious Brexit negotiations' - Simon Coveney

Tanaiste Simon Coveney during the Fine Gael parliamentary meeting at the Garryvoe Hotel in Cork
Photo credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Tanaiste Simon Coveney during the Fine Gael parliamentary meeting at the Garryvoe Hotel in Cork Photo credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo credit: Christopher Furlong/PA Wire
Tanaiste Simon Coveney. Photo: REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

THERE is “no basis for the reopening of a serious negotiation” on Brexit, Tánaiste Simon Coveney has said.

Amid speculation that the DUP are softening their opposition to a border down the Irish Sea, the Irish government has played down expectations of a breakthrough.

Mr Coveney and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar both said the EU is still waiting on formal proposals from the UK government.

The Tánaiste said they would listen to ideas for alternative arrangements to the backstop but they would have to do the “same job”.

“That's got to be legally sound. It's got to be negotiated in Brussels between the team for the UK and Michel Barnier's Task Force. I think that's where these ideas get tested,” Mr Coveney said.

Asked about suggestions that the Northern Ireland Assembly could have a say over how EU rules are applied in the region after Brexit, Mr Coveney said it is “not as straightforward as some people are suggesting”.

“We will explore all ideas that are being brought forward by the British government but they will be rigorously tested because this has to stand up to to real scrutiny,” he said.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo credit: Christopher Furlong/PA Wire

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said today that he is "cautiously optimistic" of getting a Brexit deal as he prepares for talks with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

The Prime Minister will travel to Luxembourg on Monday for his first meeting with Mr Juncker and EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier since taking office in July, Downing Street said.

Speaking in Rotherham at the launch of his plan to re-vitalise the Northern Powerhouse initiative, Mr Johnson said there was the "rough shape" of a deal in place.

However, he was heckled by a member of audience who told him to "get back to Parliament" to sort out "the mess that you have created".

Mr Johnson brushed off the interruption, insisting MPs would have "ample time" to consider Brexit when Parliament returns next month after a five-week suspension.

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