Donegal Deputy Charlie McConalogue says the Irish government needs to secure a Brexit backstop to ensure that there can be no return to a hard border on the island of Ireland.
The Brexit Treaty deal, which was published on Monday, includes a Hard Border backstop but Deputy McConalogue has warned Ministers here not to take anything for granted.
Deputy McConalogue explained, “Last week the UK’s Northern Ireland Affairs Committee said it couldn’t find evidence of technical solutions to avoid a hard border in operation anywhere else in the world. Its report also found that evidence to support its implementation didn’t exist.
“It is now more important than ever to make sure that the backstop solution is agreed by the EU and the UK next week. While I welcome the fact that negotiators have recommended that a backstop be written into the text of the draft Brexit Treaty, we need to be very attuned to the fact that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.
He added that any move towards a hard border would be disastrous for Donegal, where hundreds of people travel across the border on a daily basis for work, college, medical appointments and other purposes.
Without even touching on the wider issue of trade, it’s fair to say that any deviation from the current situation will pose major problems for people living in Donegal, he said.
“I am concerned that the agreement reached yesterday on the backstop will not go far enough and that the British government will use it to nominally agree to certain provisions on the border to allow it to move on to trade negotiations.
“A hard border will not be tolerated by people living in Donegal or any of the other border counties and we need to see a concrete guarantee that there will be no hard border, not some half-way house. Minister Coveney and other government Ministers need to ensure that that guarantee is delivered upon in the best interests of this country, nothing less will do”.