Belfast Telegraph

Coveney urges Westminster to publish concrete plans

By John Downing

Simon Coveney has called for clarity from the UK on how it plans to avoid a hard border.

The Republic's Tanaiste told the Dail it was crucial that British and EU negotiators secured a wording that reflected what was agreed between Brussels and London last December.

Fianna Fail has accused the Irish government of failing to nail down the issue while at the same time allowing the final phase of talks to begin.

But Mr Coveney brushed the criticisms aside and said progress on the border would be assessed by EU leaders at a summit in June.

"I think June is a significant date from an Irish perspective," he added.

The Tanaiste stressed the British Government had in February rejected a legal draft of the deal agreed in December while the Irish State had accepted it.

"It is now up to the British Government to come forward with proposals that would have the same outcome," he said.

Mr Coveney was replying to Fianna Fail Brexit spokesman Stephen Donnelly, who said he was concerned about the delay.

"Last Monday, many of us were taken by surprise when the EU taskforce released a document which showed that no progress had been made on releasing the legal wording for the backstop," he explained.

"And last Friday the Taoiseach said the wording may not be agreed until October.

"How long will the Irish government allow phase two to continue without clarity on that specific legal wording that needs to be in final document?"

Belfast Telegraph

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