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Taoiseach must be prepared to use Brexit veto to defend Ireland's national interests – McDonald

30 November, 2017 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has said that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar must be willing to use the government's veto to prevent Brexit talks moving on to Phase Two if Ireland's national interests are not addressed in a clear and certain way.

Speaking to Minister Simon Coveney at Leaders’ Questions today, Teachta McDonald said;

“We are fast approaching the critical meeting of the European Council. At this point in the process, government has the maximum leverage. We have a veto to secure to the best comprehensive deal in our national interests.

“There is very real danger that the best interests of Irish citizens, north and south, will be sacrificed in order to allow both Britain and the EU to move on.

“You must take, and argue, the principle that any agreement that does not explicitly contain protections for our people and the economy is no progress at all.

“This will be another test of the Taoiseach’s leadership. All the talk about regulatory divergence and convergence misses the point.

“The solution is for the north to be granted Designated Special Status within the European Union as part of any final agreement. That would allow the North to remain part of the Single Market and the Customs Union.

“That means the Good Friday Agreement must be protected fully. That is the position of Sinn Féin, the EU Parliament, and the Dáil.

“The British Government has failed to bring forward firm proposals on how they will avoid a Brexit border and protect the GFA.

“It is vital that the Irish Government must secure clarity and binding agreements. Without this, the process should not be allowed to progress.

“Any talk of a parallel process is nonsense and dangerous at that. The time to defend Irish interests is now.

“So, your Government must exercise its veto if necessary.” 

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