Thursday 22 March 2018

'No deal with UK on immigration controls' - Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny Picture: PA
Taoiseach Enda Kenny Picture: PA
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

There is no deal between the Irish and British governments to shift the frontline of immigration controls to the Republic's port and airports, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland James Brokenshire had claimed that London and Dublin will work to strengthen Ireland's external borders in order to combat illegal migration into the UK after Brexit.

He suggested a "high level of collaboration" would help avoid the introduction of a "hard border" between North and South.

However, in the Dáil, Mr Kenny said: "We don't have an agreement because we don't know yet what the British government are looking for here."

He said no such deal could be struck because the British government has still not outlined what it wants from Brexit.

Mr Kenny said Ireland had been clear that "we do not want a return to a hard border" that would involve custom posts between the Republic and Northern Ireland.

The Taoiseach also revealed he has sent 300 invitations to political leaders, business representatives and other bodies for next Wednesday's Civil Dialogue on Brexit, which will take place in Dublin.

During statements on last week's EU Council meeting, Mr Kenny said that in her remarks, UK Prime Minister Theresa May "confirmed that the UK decision to leave the EU is irreversible, and that it will trigger Article 50 by the end of March 2017".

"She was very clear that, until the Article 50 negotiations are concluded, the UK intends to remain a full and active member of the union, and to fulfil all its obligations and responsibilities as a member state," he said.

The Taoiseach also spoke to EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, on the margins of the meeting.

"During those exchanges, I emphasised - as I do at every opportunity - Ireland's very particular concerns arising from Brexit, specifically in relation to Northern Ireland, the peace process, and citizenship issues; the Common Travel Area and border issues; and the inter-connectedness of our economies," he said.

However, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said that the "hysterical anti-Europeanism of mainly English politicians, ideologues and media owners did not involve preparing any concrete plans for what to do after the referendum".

"They continue to abuse anyone who points out issues but they have yet to get beyond a shambolic and often arrogant statement that everything will be great when Britain leaves.

"The damage to Ireland is not hypothetical. It is happening already and it risks becoming much worse," Mr Martin told the Dáil.

Irish Independent

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