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Statement by Tánaiste following Speech by Prime Minister May


Speaking after Prime Minister May’s speech today, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney TD, said:

“Our team will study this speech carefully over the coming days. We look forward to the UK presenting developed proposals officially across the negotiating table in Brussels, and to considering these together with the Commission and other EU Member States.

We welcome the Prime Minister's reiteration of the UK's steadfast commitment to the Good Friday Agreement and to the commitments made in the agreement reached last December, including on avoiding a hard border. 

These commitments now need to be translated into concrete proposals on how a hard border can be avoided and the Good Friday Agreement and North-South co-operation protected. Our shared hope is that the future EU-UK relationship can achieve these goals. However, we, together with the Commission, are also committed to exploring other specific solutions, if proposed by the UK. 

The draft Withdrawal Agreement text published by the Task Force this week outlines the fall-back mechanism, as agreed in December, if the first two options cannot meet our objectives. This would entail, if necessary, full alignment in Northern Ireland with those rules of the Single Market and Customs Union necessary to protect North-South cooperation, the all-island economy and the Good Friday Agreement, and to avoid a hard border.

All of these options are consistent with the need to respect the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement regarding the constitutional status of Northern Ireland and the principle of consent.”

Minister for European Affairs Helen McEntee said:  "We welcome the reiteration of the commitment to the joint report the U.K. Government agreed to in December.  The Prime Minister reiterated that there will be no border, or associated customs checks on the island of Ireland and it is now up to the UK to come forward with these solutions.”


Press Office
2 March 2018