No hard border: Agreement reached in Brexit talks

People across Ireland were today waking up to the news that a deal has been struck confirming there will be no hard border on the island of Ireland.

Friday, 8th December 2017, 7:07 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 12:55 pm
EU President Jean-Claude Juncker standing with British Prime Minister Theresa May at the EU Commission in Brussels.

British Prime Minister Theresa May today joined European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels at an early morning press conference to say that the breakthrough had been achieved.

The process had stalled on Monday after the DUP - the Tories minority partners in government- expressed concerns over a deal reached on regulatory alignment across the north and south of Ireland.

In a statement issued this morning, DUP Leader Arlene Foster said: “Upon receipt of the draft text on Monday, the Democratic Unionist Party indicated to the Prime Minister that we could not support it as a basis for moving forward.

“Since then we have intensely engaged with the Government right up until the early hours of this morning to secure changes to the document, mindful of the significant issues at stake for the future of Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom as a whole.

“Throughout this process our guiding principle has been to act in the national interest to ensure the constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom is not compromised as we leave the European Union. The Democratic Unionist Party has always been clear that the Union that matters most to Northern Ireland is that of the Union of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

“As a consequence of the engagement between the Government and our team, substantial positive progress has been made on improving the text of Monday’s original draft paper.”

Mrs Foster said the new text gave clear commitments that the north of Ireland will leave the European Union along with the rest of the United Kingdom and will leave the single market and the customs union along with the rest of the UK, as well as no customs or trade border down the Irish Sea.

She added however that the DUP felt there was more work to be done around the areas of cooperation where it would be necessary to have alignment of rules and standards.