MPs say hard border with Republic of Ireland appears 'inevitable' after Brexit

Aaron Brown
December 3, 2017

What to do about the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland is emerging as the main sticking point that could prevent talks about Britain's departure from the European Union moving on to the next phase.

"We are looking for significantly more clarity than we now have from the British negotiating team", Coveney told parliament in Dublin, adding that "constructive ambiguity" from Britain would not suffice. "If it is not possible to do that, so be it".

THE British government's environment department has appeared to distance itself from a call by Ian Paisley to make a Brexit fisheries deal "extremely long, tedious and hard" for the Republic.

Britain's Times newspaper, without citing a source, said London was close to a deal after a proposal to devolve more powers to the government of its province of Northern Ireland so that it could ensure regulations there did not diverge from the European Union rules in place south of the border across the island.

Is the Border issue being used as a pawn by the Brexiteers?

The question of regulatory divergence or convergence is central to the Brexit process.

The political stakes were dramatically raised for UK Prime Minister Theresa May November 30 when Democratic Unionist Party Member of Parliament Sammy Wilson, widely seen as representing the general sentiment within the organization, publicly warned the DUP's continued support for the Conservative Government is conditional on the outcome of the negotiated status of Northern Ireland.

"If you have different standards in terms of food safety, animal welfare, animal health, if you have different standards in relation to medical devices and the approval of drugs, how then can you maintain practical north/south co-operation as we have it today, if that regulatory divergence appears after Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom leaves the European Union".

Efforts to reach a deal are to intensify with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to hold talks with European Council President Donald Tusk in Dublin tomorrow.

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