Thursday 26 April 2018

Brexit deal on the border is now at 'serious risk' – Dáil warned

Deputy Stephen Donnelly
Deputy Stephen Donnelly
John Downing

John Downing

The special EU-UK deal on the future of the Irish border after Brexit is at serious risk, Fianna Fáil has warned.

The party’s Brexit spokesman, Stephen Donnelly, told the Dáil that the agreement on December 8 last was hailed as "bulletproof" by the Dublin government. But he said there were repeated signs from London that the British government took a completely different view of things.

Mr Donnelly said there were now reports that the element of the December EU-UK deal would be taken out of the Separation Agreement due to be published soon.

He said the border terms were now likely to be part of a protocol attaching to the main agreement – something which risked diminishing its legal status.

The Fianna Fáil Wicklow TD said the key element of the border deal was the so-called "backstop", which effectively meant that if no other arrangements could be come up with, then business standards in the North would mimic those across the EU.  The process is called "regulatory alignment."

Replying for the Government, Health Minister Simon Harris said that the December agreement on the border must be honoured in full. He said this was reaffirmed by the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, at a meeting with the Taoiseach last week.

Mr Harris said the border arrangement was part of a wider EU-UK agreement. He said it would be reflected in full in the forthcoming Separation Agreement.

"The Irish Government's view is that the 'Backstop' element of the withdrawal agreement is unambiguous and comprehensive - ensuring no North South Border controls now or anytime into the future," Mr Harris insisted.

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