As mounting problems emerge and the deadline for an extension comes closer, Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond has called on all parties to agree to extend the Brexit negotiations.
Deputy Richmond said: “As the world comes to terms with the rapidly developing corona virus Covid 19, it is vital that all energies must be focussed on that front.
“The virus continues to disrupt daily life in every way imaginable while the medical and economic toll continues to rise.
“In the past week we have seen key figures from both the EU and the U.K. sides such as Michel Barnier, David Frost, Boris Johnson and even Dominic Cummings self isolate as they’ve been struck down by this virus.
“The notion that the Brexit negotiations can continue in any way properly is simply ludicrous.
“The very nature of the negotiations require teams of negotiators to attend multiple meetings running parallel focussing on particular sectors.
“On a practical basis, only so much can be done by conference call as can be seen by today’s meeting of the joint committee.
“Such limited settings for negotiations in themself are a massive challenge but pale into comparison with the Covid 19 crisis unfolding.
“Today Fine Gael’s European political grouping, the EPP, have called for an extension to be sought to allow for these negotiations to resume at a more appropriate time without the pressures of artificial deadlines.
“It must be clear to all now that a Brexit extension is becoming the only option,” Deputy Richmond concluded.