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Brexit breakthrough: Winners and losers as Brexit deal is agreed

By Kevin Doyle

Following the major breakthrough on the Brexit deal, here are the big winners and losers from the agreement.

WINNERS

Northern Ireland

If Brexit has to happen then in that context Northern Ireland is getting the best of both worlds. The border risked becoming an EU frontier with passport checks but this will not now happen.

Today's deal means that regardless of what comes in the later stages in the talks the status quo will remain for people when crossing from the Republic into the North.

The fact Scotland, Wales and London all now want similar guarantees tells you this was a good deal for Northern Ireland. The agreement also puts emphasis on protecting the Good Friday Agreement and peace funds.

Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney

The Taoiseach and Tánaiste held their nerves over recent weeks in the face of some unfair and personal attacks from hardline Brexiteers and elements of the UK press.

Having battled each other for the Fine Gael leadership they now look like a formidable duo on the international political stage. No matter how long they remain in office there are unlikely to be many days better than today.

They got the result they wanted.

A hat tip too to former Taoiseach Enda Kenny who laid the groundwork for their success.

Business

Today's agreement will be of major reassurance to businesses in the region, particularly farmers. It is estimated 30,000 vehicles cross the Border every day.

These include workers and students who would have been badly affected by any change to the current regime. Essentially the deal says trading rules will be maintained through "full alignment" of regulations.

The devil might be in the detail but it's as much as we could have hoped for at this stage.

LOSERS

Hard Brexiteers

Those who favour a very hard Brexit will be aghast by this deal. The way the UK government has presented the deal suggests they intend to stay closely aligned to the EU.

Many believed Theresa May should pull out from the negotiations and simply initiate a hard Brexit.

The agreement also questions the logic of the argument that the UK is taking back control of its borders. The only border with the EU is to remain wide open.

Theresa May

The UK Prime Minister got there in the end but it has been an embarrassing week.

Having had to dramatically stall the talks after a phone call from the DUP, Theresa May looks even weaker than before. UKIP's Nigel Farage (above) wasted no time having a pop at her this morning, tweeting: "A deal in Brussels is good news for Mrs May as we can now move on to the next stage of humiliation."

British tabloids

Most of the UK press, particularly those in the Murdoch stable, are pro-Brexit and not afraid to let readers know. Newspapers like The Sun and Daily Mail have had some bizarre coverage of Ireland in recent weeks as they tried to influence the UK negotiating team.

Ultimately though Leo Varadkar didn't "shut his gob" as advised and in this instance at least that was a good thing. They will probably welcome the fact that the talks are moving on to Phase II - but the divorce bill and Irish question have been answered in a way that won't meet approval.

Irish Independent

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