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‘We can’t afford to not trade with England!’ Irish politician warns EU over Brexit talks

AN IRISH politician has warned Brussels that Ireland will need to continue trading with the UK after Brexit.

During a Brexit debate in the Dail on Monday, TD Michael Fitzmaurice bluntly said that Ireland “cannot afford to have a border” and “cannot afford not to be trading with England”.Mr Fitzmaurice added that the “Irish people deserve their say” in Brexit talks.

The Irish TD claimed it was vital that the trading relationship continued saying: “We may have higher, in money wise, in exports to Europe and the rest of the world but in tonnage which actually creates the most jobs in the rural parts it is vitally important that we stand up.”

In Theresa May’s speech last Friday she declared her commitment to not having a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. Mrs May said: “The UK government, the Irish government and the EU as a whole have been clear that through the process of our withdrawal we will protect progress made in Northern Ireland over recent years – and the lives and livelihoods that depend on this progress.

Theresa May Brexit News UK EU Britain IrelandGetty / YouTube

TD Michael Fitzmaurice says that Republic of Ireland must trade with UK after Brexit

“As part of this, we and the EU have committed to protecting the Belfast Agreement and the Common Travel Area and, looking ahead, we have both stated explicitly that we will not accept any physical infrastructure at the border.”Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar welcomed Theresa May’s comments after a “very good” meeting at Downing Street on Monday.

Speaking outside Number 10, Mr Varadkar said: “Saying there will be no physical infrastructure [at the Ireland-UK border] is a very strong statement.

“The way I believe you can best achieve that is for the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland, to stay in some form of customs union and some form of single market with the European Union.”

Philippe Lamberts, of the European Parliament Brexit Steering Group, said the Irish border issue would play a bigger part in negotiations than the issue of a settlement fee.Speaking to the BBC’s Daily Politics programme, the politician said disagreement over the UK wanting to leave the single market and customs union but maintaining a soft border at the same time could lead to negotiations breaking down.

He said: “On Ireland, I really fail to see how we can reconcile those differences and to be honest sometimes I think that this might be the factor that will derail the Brexit negotiation, even more than money.

The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier has argued that the future relationship will not be discussed until significant progress is made in regard to the Irish border, EU citizens living in the UK and Brits living within Europe, and the divorce bill.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/859421/brexit-Ireland-Brexit-Northern-Ireland-border-Dail-Michel-Barnier-Brussels-negotiations

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