Sunday 18 August 2019

'Trump administration know Ireland can't be collateral damage in Brexit' - Coveney

Simon Coveney Photo: Frank McGrath
Simon Coveney Photo: Frank McGrath
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

The White House’s acting chief of staff is clear that Ireland cannot be “collateral damage” in Brexit, Tánaiste Simon Coveney has said.

Mr Coveney, who is in Washington, briefed Mick Mulvaney today on the impasse over the backstop.

He described Mr Mulvaney as a “very influential person” within Donald Trump’s administration.

“He understands only too well the fragility of the peace process and certainly agrees that Ireland cannot be collateral damage here because of a Brexit deal that doesn’t take account of the obligations of the British and Irish governments to protect a peace process and an all-island economy that reinforces that peace process,” Mr Coveney said.

“Of course, the border question is very much at the centre of that issue. That is understood in the real heart of Washington now and I would be surprised if that view wasn’t heard clearly in London.”

The Tánaiste is on a two-day trip to the United States during which he has sought support for the Irish government’s position in the Brexit negotiations.

“The message here is very strong. Irish-America is watching very closely. They care about the peace process.

“They recognise that it’s fragile right now, that we haven’t had devolved government for more than two years. That Brexit has polarised Northern Ireland and is creating strain,” he said.

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