independent

Thursday 19 July 2018

Border remains vital issue in Brexit talks

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, left, shows his decorative socks to British Prime Minister Theresa May, second right, during a round table meeting at an EU summit in Goteborg, Sweden.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, left, shows his decorative socks to British Prime Minister Theresa May, second right, during a round table meeting at an EU summit in Goteborg, Sweden.

Olivia Ryan

The border remains a key stumbling block to UK-EU talks on Brexit, with uncertainty around the frontier's future continuing to dominate the headlines.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has made his position clear, that a guarantee around 'no hard border' must be made before the current talks can progress.

Speaking in the Dail last week he outlined to TD's the issues raised in talks with the EU-UK officials, and in particular the fears around a hard border.

'We always explain in meetings that for many people in the European Union these talks might be about the financial settlement or economics, but for us it is about far more than that.

'For us, this is about far more than trade, the economy and money. It is about far greater, deeper, bigger and historical issues,' said Mr. Varadkar

Meanwhile the local lobby group 'Border Communities Against Brexit have quesioned the government's stance.

A spokesman said; 'Ireland will block progress of Brexit talks without border guarantee but how real will that guarantee be? If the UK go away from the table in sixteen months with no deal what happens our guarantee? If it is to be a guarantee we need it bonded and certified by the Hague.'

Louth TD Declan Breathnach added: 'While everyone has stated their wish to avoid a hard border and, there needs to be a unique solution.'

The Louth TD spoke following a briefing by Foreign Affairs Minister, Simon Coveney on Brexit talks.

'I asked [Minister Coveney] about the future of INTERREG and PEACE funding post 2020, and if a mechanism can be found to ensure that the importance of these funds to border and northern counties will be recognised and to allow this funding to be continued and enhanced.

I also asked about the legacy issues, and whether the 80 or more families south of the border would be given the same access to services as those north of the border.'

The Argus

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