'Ireland's interests are the EU's interests' in Brexit talks, says Simon Coveney
Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney says he has been left in no doubt that Ireland's interests are the European Union's interests in Brexit negotiations.
Speaking after his first meeting with EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier since being appointed to his new role, Mr Coveney said Ireland's unique circumstances are well understood in Brussels.
Mr Coveney said it was clear from the pair's discussions that Ireland remains a key EU priority in talks that started this week on the UK's pull-out from the bloc.
"For the EU27's part, we have set out our position plainly and in this position there is a strong acknowledgement of Ireland's unique concerns and priorities, including on: protecting both the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts and the gains of the peace process; avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland and; maintaining the Common Travel Area," he said.
"In short, there is no doubt that Ireland's interests are the EU's interests."
Mr Coveney stressed Ireland wanted to see the closest possible future relationship between the EU and the UK to minimise the impact on Ireland's trade and economy.