| 0.9°C Belfast

Brexit deal: Taoiseach Micheal Martin hopeful agreement can be struck as deadline looms

Close

Optimistic: Taoiseach Micheal Martin speaking to media during a visit to Dublin Port yesterday

Optimistic: Taoiseach Micheal Martin speaking to media during a visit to Dublin Port yesterday

PA

Optimistic: Taoiseach Micheal Martin speaking to media during a visit to Dublin Port yesterday

Taoiseach Micheal Martin has said he is hopeful that the outline of a Brexit deal can be reached by the end of the week.

He said at a briefing of EU prime ministers last week European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had provided one of the more "hopeful presentations made to date".

Speaking to reporters from Dublin Port yesterday, the Taoiseach was upbeat about the prospects of a deal.

He said: "A deal is necessary, and a deal is in the best interest of the United Kingdom, of Ireland and of the European Union.

"The fact is that engagement has continued, and it's fair to say the engagement has been of an intensive nature now for some weeks.

"President Ursula von der Leyen did say to the EU leaders last Thursday night that there are texts now on all areas.

"I would be hopeful that by the end of this week we could see the outline of a deal.

"That remains to be seen.

"It's down to political will, both in the United Kingdom, I'm clear the political will is there in the European Union.

"One must remain hopeful that a deal can be arrived at.

"It's very important that it happens. It's important for jobs and for all of those who are in business, that they can look forward in terms of their futures.

"A deal makes far greater sense for jobs and for the respective economies of all involved."

He added: "I do sense that both negotiating teams, they've made progress, that's the point.

"I think the presentation made last week by the President of the Commission was probably one of the more hopeful presentations that has been made to date.

"Therefore one has to remain hopeful that they can pull one off."

Mr Martin was speaking from Dublin Port, which he visited yesterday to assess preparations for Brexit.

The Taoiseach said Brexit would be "the most significant fundamental change in our economic narrative in over 50 years".

Over 1,500 extra people have been hired to work in customs, with customs declarations set to increase from an average of 1.5m per year to around 20 million per year.

Mr Martin admitted that the added burden on the customs system will have a negative impact on traffic congestion in Dublin.

He said: "That which ordinarily went through here seamlessly will not go through seamlessly now.

"The aim of all of our preparation is to make it as fast as we possibly can."

He added: "We can deal with it.

"We've built up capacity very quickly and we're continuing to work to increase capacity here at Dublin Port.

"But the world will change and it will not be as seamless as it once was."

Belfast Telegraph


Privacy