Increased confidence about Brexit negotiations is welcome, but clarity needed

Must result in legally-workable agreements

Fianna Fáil’s Brexit Spokesperson, Lisa Chambers TD has said that apparent growing confidence among the EU that a deal with the United Kingdom will be secured over the next number of weeks is welcome.

Deputy Chambers has also warned that “we have been down this road before with supposed breakthroughs in the past ultimately failing to deliver what was needed to secure agreement between the EU and the UK.

“The devil will, like in so many of the previous advancements in negotiations, be in the detail. Until there are hard solutions written down in legally workable agreements between both sides, we are still ultimately working in the dark.

“With reports of concessions from Ireland, clarity is needed as to what the position will be in two years’ time when we need to negotiate all over again. Will our EU partners still be on the same page as they are today or will they have moved on?

“A two year transitional agreement places Ireland in a vulnerable position. This is a far cry from the cast iron and bullet proof backstop we were sold last December. We urgently need clarity on what concessions have already been agreed to, and what impact these will have for our citizens, farmers and businesses.

“It’s now crunch time. As Commission President Juncker has said, ‘the moment of truth’ is almost upon us. Fianna Fáil is actively engaging with our ALDE colleagues in government across the Union to ensure that support for Ireland remains strong.

“I will be seeking a meeting with the Tánaiste, and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney TD this week to get an update from him on the current state of the negotiations.

“The threat of a hard border on the island of Ireland is abhorrent to all of us who care for the peoples and communities that would be so devastatingly affected by a failure to secure a withdrawal agreement that recognised the unique circumstances of Ireland,” concluded Chambers.