I welcome Mr Barnier’s comments regarding the need to protect the fundamental principles of the Good Friday Agreement and North – South relations. It’s of fundamental importance that the achievements that have been made since 1998 in promoting peace in Northern Ireland are not undone as a result of Brexit.
It’s worrying that Britain is yet to set out in detail how exactly it envisions the border will operate post-Brexit. The negotiations have entered a crucial stage, it’s important that Britain sets out its stall so that the European Union can collectively respond to its negotiation position.
Fianna Fáil wishes to see a Brexit deal that secures a trade deal that is as close as possible to what we have at present. It’s important that we avoid a ‘cliff-edge’ scenario which would be damaging to the social and economic fabric of both Ireland and Northern Ireland. However this can only be achieved if Britain is upfront with its negotiation position.
In particular, the Common Travel Area between Britain and Ireland must be maintained and the Irish Government needs to pull out all the stops to achieve this.