Northern Ireland party rejects European Union plans on Ireland border

Aaron Brown
March 7, 2018

Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster said after a meeting with the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, that there can be no division between Northern Ireland and the rest of the accommodate for a soft border with the EU.

That second promise was left out of the European Union's draft withdrawal text, published last week, prompting outrage in the United Kingdom.

"The draft European Union legal text was not a faithful or indeed fair legal interpretation of the joint report from December", Foster told journalists following the Barnier meeting adding that she was ready to explore "imaginative and flexible solutions", in the coming months.

The delegation going to Brussels includes DUP leader Arlene Foster, her deputy Nigel Dodds, MEP Diane Dodds and East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson. "It also overreaches in other areas".

"That is his interpretation, we don't think it's a fair interpretation of the joint report from December and therefore work needs to be done on this now".

"He has put forward an European Union draft text which not only do we find it unacceptable, the British Government find it unacceptable, the Labour party find it unacceptable".

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She said companies needed to have a plan in place to deal with the potential fall-out, especially those exposed to the British market.

The Sinn Féin leader added that there could be no overall agreement on Brexit unless the issue of the Irish border was solved.

She said: "We will not countenance any proposal which would create a new border in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and Great Britain". It's driving a coach and horses through the EU's principles of no hard borders. Placing a border down the Irish Sea would not just be politically unacceptable but would be economically catastrophic.

"We feel that the current draft legal text has omissions in it".

Speaking after the meeting, Mrs Foster said it had been a "constructive meeting" and that there were "sensible solutions to the border question". "It talks about giving the north-south ministerial council powers".

Foster said she wanted the entirety of the joint report to be translated into legal text, and she offered her support for the suggestions made in August a year ago by the United Kingdom government for a bespoke solution to the problem.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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