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'There can be no return of Border' - Belfast talks


Charlie Flanagan

Charlie Flanagan

Charlie Flanagan

Whatever EU-UK deal emerges from post-Brexit negotiations - there can be no return of the Border with the North, Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan has insisted.

Mr Flanagan was speaking after talks in Belfast with Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers and the North's leaders, Arlene Foster of the DUP, and Martin Ferris of Sinn Fein.

A delegation from the power-sharing Belfast administration is due in Dublin on Monday to meet the Taoiseach.

But after yesterday's meeting, Mr Flanagan signalled a common approach was emerging to promote Ireland's interests on the upcoming EU-UK negotiations.

"All parties agreed on the importance of the common travel arrangement and it's important that we have it, irrespective of whatever happens in the relations between the UK and the European Union," Mr Flanagan said.

"Also on the issue of the Border, the fact that there is freedom of movement of people, goods and services like never seen before - it's important that this issue be reflected in the context of the rounds of negotiations," he said.

Ms Villiers said the North cannot maintain any kind of special status within the EU after the UK withdraws its membership.


She said the EU rules do not permit part of a country remaining within the union.

A majority of North voters, 56pc, voted for the Remain side in last Thursday's referendum, despite a Leave win in the entire UK.

Both Sinn Fein and the SDLP have said they do not want to be "dragged out of the EU" on the basis of English votes.

First Minister Arlene Foster campaigned for a Leave vote, but now wants the best deal.