Deputy Charlie McConalogue has expressed concern that the deadline for a deal on a border backstop has been put back to October.
Deputy McConalogue says the delay could see Ireland’s negotiation position on an open border weakened.
“I am growing increasingly worried that there appears to be no sense of urgency with this government to get a deal on an open border secured. Brexit is coming down the tracks in just over a year’s time and we are no further along in ensuring that a hard border on the island of Ireland is prevented”, said Deputy McConalogue.
“Back in December we were told we had a “bullet-proof” guarantee that there would be no hard border, but as the months are passing that position appears to be weakening. The so-called backstop appears to be the only measure that we are relying on. Now we hear that an agreement on the border may not be concluded until October – this is a very worrying turn of events.”
He added that the whole purpose of structuring the Brexit talks in two phases was to ensure agreement was reached in phase one on several critical issues, including the border with the North.
He said that talks were not due to move on to phase 2 until these issues were agreed, but now we have a situation whereby a transition period has been agreed, and advanced discussions on trade will soon get underway – all without any guarantees that a hard border will be avoided.
He stressed “This has serious implications for Ireland’s negotiation ability. As the talks progress, other important issues will arise and the border could fall down the priority list.
“I am unclear as to what the government has achieved for Ireland at this point – it’s almost two years after Britain voted to leave the EU and despite a series of speeches by the Taoiseach and the Foreign Affairs Minister that there was a “cast-iron” guarantee that a hard border would not come to pass, we appear to be no further down the road in securing an open border for the island of Ireland”.Tags: