May’s backtracking on backstop unacceptable

Fianna Fáil’s Spokesperson on Brexit Lisa Chambers TD says the decision by Theresa May to support an amendment which calls for the backstop to be removed and replaced with ‘alternative arrangements’ to avoid a hard border is unacceptable

Deputy Chambers explained, “The backstop was agreed by the EU and UK negotiation teams after 18 months of discussions and was supported by Theresa May. In fact, as Sabine Weyand the EU’s Deputy Chief Negotiator said yesterday, the UK had significant input into shaping the backstop and it was its preference for the whole of the UK to remain in the Customs Union rather than having a specific arrangement for Northern Ireland.

“This was a concession that the UK asked for and it got. The UK Prime Minister is now trying to walk away from what she herself agreed and this is unacceptable. Furthermore, there is no clarity on what these ‘alternative arrangements’ to the backstop are supposed to be.

“Time and time again the EU has said that there can be no withdrawal agreement without the backstop and as we near the end game it is imperative that the EU remains steadfast in its commitment to Ireland and our specific concerns.

“It is essential that in the midst of all the noise on Brexit that the Irish Government keeps the public informed and up to date. We have had mixed messages from the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste in recent days which has been unhelpful. They must be clear in their approach and in their messaging and ensure that our interests are not side-lined in days and weeks ahead”.