Belfast Telegraph

Brexit trigger confirmation provides 'welcome certainty' for beginning of talks

Welcome certainty has been provided by the British Government's determination to trigger Brexit talks by the end of March, foreign affairs minister Charlie Flanagan has said.

Downing Street has said the UK Government's defeat in a historic court battle will not derail PM Theresa May's plan to launch negotiations on withdrawal from the EU this spring.

Irish preparations for the "challenging" dialogue have been extensive and comprehensive, Mr Flanagan added.

He said: "I welcome the confirmation from the UK Government that it will proceed with the triggering of Article 50 by the end of March at the latest. This provides welcome certainty for the beginning of the negotiations between the UK and the EU.

"Preparations and our programme of engagement with our EU partners are continuing and we will be ready for the challenging negotiations ahead."

Finance minister Michael Noonan has said the UK's exit from the EU will take six years to negotiate once transitional arrangements are factored in.

He warned the negotiations would be difficult, including issues such as North-South arrangements with Northern Ireland.

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