Saturday 25 November 2017

'Transition period on trade deals is vital in Brexit'

Slammed UK government: Fianna Fáil’s Stephen Donnelly Picture: Tom Burke
Slammed UK government: Fianna Fáil’s Stephen Donnelly Picture: Tom Burke
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

A transition period to allow Britain to gradually leave the European Union "must be involved" for any changes to trading relationships, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.

Mr Kenny said the talks that would start after Article 50 was triggered on March 29 would be "complex and lengthy".

He said that he hoped to see "greater clarity" on the UK approach to the negotiation process in the coming weeks.

"Our headline priorities are clear. We want to continue to facilitate trade on the island of Ireland and between Ireland and Great Britain, protect the achievement of the Northern Ireland peace process and the Good Friday Agreement and maintain the common travel area," he said.

"We also, of course, want to influence the future direction of the EU itself. I have highlighted and explained our particular priorities in all my meetings with my EU counterparts."

Mr Kenny indicated that he would be the Government's representative at a special meeting of EU leaders on April 29 where the guidelines for the negotiations will be decided.

Critical

Fianna Fáil's Brexit spokesman Stephen Donnelly was heavily critical of the British government during a Dáil debate yesterday.

He said that nine months on from the referendum, "the people who most actively sought this result have not produced a single piece of paper demonstrating any clear positive outcome from this decision".

"For years an increasingly hysterical anti-EU sentiment was allowed to develop, with the EU being the all-purpose whipping boy for those who longed nostalgically for some bygone era of national greatness.

"It culminated in an ugly, dishonest and at times sinister campaign which won a narrow majority for leaving the EU."

Mr Donnelly argued that "in case anyone is fooled by the rhetoric claiming how the economy is going fine, the facts show that deep, long-term damage is under way".

"A massive decline in the value of sterling, and dramatic interventions by the Bank of England have given a short-term injection to the economy. But inflation is on its way and many sectors of the economy have begun to slow," Mr Donnelly said.

Irish Independent

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