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Barnier comments expose weakness of Irish Government’s Brexit negotiation strategy – Doherty

6 July, 2017 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said that comments today by EU Chief Negotiator on Brexit Michel Barnier, regarding the impossibility of frictionless borders after Brexit, have exposed the weakness of the Irish Government’s Brexit negotiating strategy.

Mr Barnier said that British ideas about leaving the EU single market and building “a customs union to build frictionless trade….is not possible", adding: “The decision to leave the EU has consequences.”

Pearse Doherty said:

“Comments today by Michel Barnier on the impossibility of frictionless borders after Brexit have exposed the weakness of the Irish Government’s negotiating strategy on this crucial issue.

“The Government has failed to prioritise the case for the North of Ireland to secure designated special status within the EU.

“Short of Irish reunification, this is the only way to resolve the issue of an EU frontier on the island of Ireland.

“As Sinn Féin has warned consistently, Brexit has potentially disastrous implications for the Irish economy, cross border trade, and the Good Friday Agreement.

“Government spin about the possibility of a ‘soft Brexit’ and a ‘frictionless Border’ have never amounted to more than wishful thinking.

“The Government’s flawed, weak, and misguided negotiations strategy has been an abject failure. That much is clear from today's remarks by Michel Barnier.

“Even at this late stage, the Government needs to change tack and up its game in relation to Brexit and the consequences for Ireland. They need to start putting Ireland’s interests first and stop pretending that the EU will do it for us.

“Sinn Féin will continue with our intensive engagements at all levels in Europe to build support for special status for the North within the EU.” 

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