Fianna Fáil’s ever-changing stance on Brexit shows a clear lack of understanding of how the negotiations are actually run and the processes required, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Seanad spokesman on EU Affairs, Neale Richmond, said: “This week saw a significant breakthrough with regard to measures to safeguard the Irish border in the Withdrawal Agreement.
“Having rejected the backstop protocol out of hand a couple of weeks ago, the UK has now agreed to engage on that very same text from next Monday.
“The firm commitment made in December with regard to the backstop remains in place, as confirmed by Theresa May’s letter to Donald Tusk last Monday.
“Fianna Fáil’s position on Brexit has been all over the place. At its Árd Fheis Fianna Fáil was calling for tolling gantries, no different than a hard border.
“Previously Stephen Donnelly wanted Ireland to engage bilaterally with the UK, potentially undermining our strong membership of the EU Task Force.
“Such a ludicrous proposal would completely take away the huge sense of solidarity amongst the rest of the remaining EU member states and weaken Ireland’s strong negotiation position; as it stands we negotiate as part of the largest economic bloc in the world made up of 460 million people, under Donnelly’s proposals we would negotiate as a small state of 4.6 million people with the seventh largest economy in the world.
“The best way to secure a good outcome for Ireland is to ensure that the future relationship between Ireland and the UK is as close as possible, avoiding a hard border, and protecting trade which is so important for jobs and Irish economy. That is what the Government is working to achieve.
“We’ve agreed to review progress on this in June. The deadline has always been October. Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”