BREXIT BREAKTHROUGH: EU and UK teams reach agreement on Irish border
THERE has been a tentative breakthrough in negotiations with the British government on how to manage the Irish border after Brexit, sources revealed tonight.
The news will come as a major relief to businesses across Kilkenny and the South East region, particularly companies in the food producing industry and other sectors that rely heavily on UK exports.
Reports tonight claimed the EU Taskforce and British government representatives have reached an agreement on the contentious ‘backstop’. It is understood the text of this agreement is now being considered by British Prime Minister Theresa May.
A senior Government source told KilkennyNow.ie: “On the face of it this is good news, but we’re treating it with caution at the moment. We have always been clear to the EU about what we want. Now it’s up to Prime Minster May to try and get this through her own parliament.”
Earlier today, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar attempted to play down reports that an agreement on the border question has been reached when quizzed on the matter in the Dáil. He repeatedly refused to answer questions on the reports of a deal from Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald and Labour’s Brendan Howlin.
Irish ministers have been notified to be on standby for a special Cabinet meeting tomorrow.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is meeting with Tánaiste Simon Coveney and EU Affairs Minister Helen McEntee tonight.
The Government source added: “It’s too early to say how this is going to play out. As previous experience has shown, this could all unravel very quickly. We’ll know more over the next few hours.”
The latest version of the backstop is expected to involve a temporary UK-wide customs arrangement with the EU. However, it will include specific provisions for Northern Ireland, which will be more tightly aligned to EU rules. This is likely to be vehemently opposed by the North’s Democratic Unionist Party, which props up Mrs May’s minority government.