Brexit must not undermine peace process, says Hillary Clinton on Dublin visit

Leo Varadkar

Leo Varadkar

Brexit talks must intensify over the summer, particularly on the issue of the Irish border, or Britain risks being unable to withdraw smoothly from the European Union, Ireland's foreign minister said on Thursday.

Jean-Claude Juncker's visit comes ahead of next week's key European Council meeting.

I am strongly against any temptation to try to isolate Ireland and not to conclude a deal on Ireland.

He said: "The clock is ticking on the Brexit process and it is imperative that an agreement is struck which will protect jobs, the economy and ensure there is no hard border in Northern Ireland".

According to The Telegraph, he added: "It is a real honour to be with you here today for this special sitting of the joint houses".

The pair held a short meeting along with their delegations, including Clara Martinez-Alberola, head of Mr Juncker's cabinet, Gerard Kiely, head of the European Commission Representation in Ireland, legal adviser Michael Shotter and financial adviser Paulina Dejmek-Hack.

"Mr Juncker's claim that "Ireland is not alone" is false security for the country which would be most severely impacted by a no deal Brexit", said DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds.

Mr Coveney added: "Let's be very clear - there will be no withdrawal agreement, no transition agreement and no managed Brexit if the United Kingdom don't follow through on their commitments".




Officials in Dublin and Brussels had initially set the European Council summit next week as an important deadline for progress on Northern Ireland, but all sides now accept that EU leaders at the meeting will not be able to herald a significant breakthrough.

"If Mr Juncker was really focused on helping Ireland, he would be encouraging the European Union to focus on getting a post-Brexit trade deal in place".

He will also watch a demonstration of Gaelic football and hurling.

The Irish border issue, which still has to be finally resolved, has come to crystallise all the most hard problems in the Brexit negotiations.

"It's a point that has also been reinforced by Michel Barnier, the European Commission's chief negotiator for Article 50 negotiations", said McGuinness.

"This government must desist from overselling minimal progress as big political wins, which is what was done with the backstop in December, when we were told it was "rock solid", "cast iron" and "bullet proof" although it still remains to be agreed some six months later".

Ahead of an European Union summit next week, Varadkar highlighted British Prime Minister Theresa May's promise to transcribe the so-called backstop solution on Ireland into legal text.

"And it's not looking good going forward either".

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