Monday, 10 December, 2018

Brexit deal possible within weeks - Taoiseach

DUP politician Sammy Wilson Image Mr Wilson said the PM had gone back on 'the promises she made'
Deanna Wagner | 10 November, 2018, 06:42

Ms Foster said the DUP will not support a different regulatory regime for Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK. "The government will not agree anything that brings about a hard border on the island of Ireland".

Some eurosceptics in her Conservative Party are already threatening to vote against the deal because it could lock Britain into a long-term customs arrangement with the EU.

But the DUP has interpreted the wording of her letter to mean that the EU's proposal - known as the "backstop to the backstop" - will be contained in the Brexit divorce deal despite Mrs May's insistence it will never come into effect.

Britain has suggested a UK-wide backstop, with Britain remaining aligned with the EU customs union for a limited time after 2020.

Speaking to RTE News Six At One, Ms Foster said she would not support a Northern Ireland specific backstop that would see a border down the Irish Sea.

It states that the EU has proposed a contingency plan to keep Northern Ireland tied to Brussels' customs union and single market if future trade talks are unsuccessful.

Theresa May accused of "total betrayal" over plans to accept a Northern Ireland-only backstop in the Brexit deal.

Brexit is expected to dominate the agenda of the British Irish Council, which also involves the first ministers of Scotland and Wales, Nicola Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones.

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Mr Varadkar said he believed the negotiations were at a "sensitive point", and while a successful outcome is not guaranteed a deal is possible in next few weeks.

Mrs May has also come under fire from her own MPs and Cabinet ministers, who have demanded legal advice on the final terms of the UK's exit to ensure the EU can not keep Britain inside the customs union indefinitely.

"The fact that Brexit is happening makes that hard to replicate, but our objective as an Irish Government is to do that to the extent that we can, in order to allow people to travel freely as they have done for so long now, but also to allow trade to function as it does now".

The party's Westminster leader, Mr Dodds, warned on Sky News: "I think the prime minister will hopefully realise what can be got through parliament and what can't".

The response of the DUP has caused frustration in Downing Street, with sources insisting that Ms May was not hiding behind "weasel words" and had stressed that she would not accept a deal which saw Northern Ireland hived off.

"People will need to ask themselves what is it that is going to be in the best interests of those who sent them to Westminster to represent them, to ensure that we maintain living standards and investment and prosperity and employment in our country".

Political leaders from across the United Kingdom and Ireland attended including the Cabinet Minister David Lidington and the Secretary of State Karen Bradley.

"I think we really have to have regard to that as well".