Irish border a threat to Brexit negotiations

02 May, 2018, 02:15 | Author: Corey Lynch
  • Lord Callanan

Leaked papers from the head of the Northern Irish Civil Service warned Mrs May's European Union sherpa Olly Robbins that no matter the outcome of Brexit negotiations, Northern Ireland will feel an economic squeeze to some extent.

European Union leaders have driven a hard bargain over the Irish border, even threatening to derail Brexit negotiations unless Theresa May and her team of negotiators can prevent a hard border.

He says there will be no Brexit deal, if there is no deal on this.

The EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation provides financial support for projects in Northern Ireland and six counties south of the border.

Michel Barnier was greeted at the Guildhall in Derry by Sinn Féin's Martina Anderson. A guide pointed out areas of the Bogside where the Bloody Sunday victims were killed in January 1972.

He added: "I think he's minded to come up with a solution that works best for the unique scenario that we have in this region".

"We need to agree rapidly by June the scope of alignment, what I call the safety controls that respect the single market", he told reporters in Dundalk, speaking alongside Mr Varadkar.

He also walked on the historic walls of the city and the Peace Bridge.

The Democratic Unionist Diane Dodds and Ulster Unionist Jim Nicholson, two of the three MEPs representing Northern Ireland, declined the invitation to meet Michel Barnier when he visited Derry on the second day of his trip to the country.

Ms Anderson also said the DUP would "not be too put out" if there was a harder border on the island of Ireland, something they may regard as a "job done", she suggested. As far as the north's unionists were concerned, Mr Barnier was "not an honest broker".

"I think it's political bad manners that the MEPs - and I have to say the two council leads from the DUP and UUP - were both invited here this morning, and neither of them have turned up".

Following today's meeting, Ulster University's Magee Provost, Malachy O'Neill said the discussion had been frank and open. "I shall be meeting with Michel Barnier at the earliest possible opportunity for him to debrief me on what his findings were".

She said the current wording "doesn't include the movement of services", adding: "People living on the island of Ireland will notice a hardening of the border if we have that backstop option coming into play".

He said: "We don't want things going backwards".

"Throughout this visit Michel Barnier heard the clear message that people do not want a hard border, they want to see the Good Friday Agreement protected in all its parts and that do not want any reduction in our rights".

"And for some of them, particularly their MPs, they may view that as a job done".



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