Government to outline Irish priorities before EU position agreed
Ireland to stress individual concerns in talks
The Government is to set out its priorities for the forthcoming Brexit negotiations in a “consolidated paper” which it will publish before the EU agrees its position for the talks.
In a signal that Ireland will stress its individual concerns in the talks, the paper will be published before the summit of EU leaders on April 29th where the negotiating mandate for the talks with the UK is to be agreed.
Government sources said they do not expect other EU countries to highlight their individual concerns in this way.
Speaking in Malta, where he was attending a meeting of the European People’s Party, of which Fine Gael is a member, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the negotiations on the future trading relationship between the UK and EU would take longer than two years.
He said there “will be a need for transitional arrangements” after the March 2019 deadline for Britain’s departure.
Official sources in Dublin said the content and tone of both Ms May’s letter to the European Council president Donald Tusk and her statement in the House of Commons yesterday, seen as more conciliatory than some previous comments, were welcome.
The specific references in Ms May’s letter not just to the North but also to the Republic also encouraged Dublin.
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“We will negotiate from a position of strength as an integral part of the EU 27 team, and will work with all our partners to achieve the best possible outcome.”
Fianna Fáil said yesterday was a “wake-up call” for the Government.
“The Government should be reducing uncertainty on Brexit for Ireland,” the party’s Brexit spokesman Stephen Donnelly said. “This includes seeking EU agreement for the ‘divorce’ talks and future relationship talks to begin at the same time, and for early agreement on a transition period to avoid a ‘cliff’ in two years.”
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said the Government must “defend the democratic mandate of the people to remain within the EU and act in Ireland’s national interest.
He said the Government “must now commit to adopting the negotiating policy position of designated special status within the EU for the North”.
“It is an absolute requirement that the special status and circumstances of Northern Ireland be recognised in the negotiations, and in the outcome,” he said.