There is no question of Northern Ireland being used as a bargaining chip for the Brexit negotiations, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Speaking in the Seanad today (Wednesday) Leas-Chathaoirleach Paul Coghlan, was responding to an article in the Irish Times by DUP MEP Diane Dodds.
“There is no question of Northern Ireland being intimidated or used as a bargaining chip in Brexit negotiations. Diane Dodds misrepresents the position of the Irish Government as an ultimatum and that is not the intention.
“However the Irish position is clear. Some form of customs union will be necessary for the protection of all concerned. Nobody wants to contemplate a collapse of negotiations and a no deal situation, but should that happen, the UK and Ireland have agreed on the backstop to prevent a hard border on this island.
“I agree with Diane Dodds on one thing, namely that trade talks will hold the key to removing a no deal scenario from the table once and for all. There is no question of a border on the Irish Sea and nor is it being sought because we are equally concerned about our east west trade which is sizeable and far greater than our north south trade.
“No doubt the Barnier/ Davis negotiating teams will aim for an ambitious free trade agreement and new customs partnership and it’s good to note that Dodd’s comment that the DUP is not willing to envisage a negative outcome from discussions on the overall relationship.
“There are no ultimatums; we all wish to work together and see an orderly withdrawal from the EU for the UK and an agreed implementation phase/transition deal. It would be unconscionable
for either side to wish otherwise.”