June slippage a worrying Brexit development - David Cullinane TD
Sinn Féin Brexit spokesperson David Cullinane TD has called on the Irish government to insist on the June deadline for the north backstop arrangement, saying that the issue is now in danger of getting lost in the overall negotiations.
Deputy Cullinane said:
"The news today that an Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is willing to allow the North backstop arrangement to be subsumed into the wider Brexit negotiations is deeply concerning.
"Last December the government told the Irish people that it had a 'cast-iron guarantee' regarding the North - that in the event of a no-deal scenario there would be no hard border on the island of Ireland.
"This backstop arrangement was an insurance policy, one that would come into play only in the event of a hard brexit.
"Britain was never happy with this arrangement and only agreed to it because of the strong line taken by the EU that talks would not progress without it.
"The details, however, were never worked out as the British government dithered and stalled on the issue.
"That tactic appears to have worked as today Leo Varadkar and his government have announced that they are willing to allow negotiations to move on despite the lack of progress on the backstop.
"This is a mistake. The backstop is not part of the overall negotiations, it is supposed to be a separate legal arrangement.
“Time and again we have seen the issue of the island of Ireland post-Brexit kicked down the road.
“The Irish government must ensure that in terms of resolving this issue, June means June, and it should hit the pause button on talks if this does not happen.
“The Irish people need certainty, and it needs to be delivered now."