The Irish Deputy PM hails recent Brexit proposals in Britain
The Irish Deputy PM said that recent Brexit proposals in Britain are a “step forward”, but further changes are needed to avoid customs controls.
Simon Coveney welcomed parts of the plan, but added, “He still would not pretend he had a solution.”
He said Johnson had “accepted for the first time” that there had to be “a full alignment of laws for all goods crossing the Irish border.
He added that Ireland still needs to “take the worst” and prepare for disagreement.
Julian Smith defends the Brexit government plan
“There will be no agreement on whether the Brexit plan is the final offer”
The British PM suggested Wednesday that Northern Ireland should stay in the single European market for goods, subject to approval by the Northern Ireland Assembly every four years.
Under the plan, Northern Ireland, together with the rest of Britain, would leave the EU Customs Union, leading to new customs controls.
The Irish government was accused by the Democratic Union Party (DUP) of “intransigence” supporting Mr. Johnson’s plan.
On Friday evening, Dup’s deputy Nigel Dodds at Hillsborough Castle said some of Mr. Coveney’s “Tones and Speeches” were “deeply unhappy.”
The risk of blockage was only superficial, suggesting that there would be no alternative. He let the cat out of his pocket. ”
Dodds said the Irish government could not “imprison Northern Ireland in facilities that hinder the economic integrity of the United Kingdom and our constitutional position.”
Tánaiste, however, rejected the proposal to “break” trade unionists, arguing that the DUP was the only party in Northern Ireland that believed that Johnson’s plan would work “as it is”.
On Friday, Tánaiste (Irish Deputy PM) admitted that Johnson’s position in the Single Market had shifted somewhat.
“For the first time, the British government led by Boris Johnson has accepted the need for full harmonization of rules for all goods to avoid the need for border infrastructure,” Coveney said of Sean O’Rourke’s Today program.
“I think this is a very welcome progress and it should be appreciated that he has not been easy to reach in recent weeks.”
He said, however, that the British plan would create “two separate customs unions” on the island of Ireland and did not explain how border controls and related security risks could be avoided.
He explained that the essence of the Brexit negotiations was not to see the border with Ireland as “trade facilitation”.
“The borderline question is about identity and emotions, as well as the history of the split and the trauma,” he said.
“That’s why it’s so emotional, political and we have to be responsible for how we solve it.”