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Brexit paper: British government's plans raise 'serious concerns'

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn during a visit to Cafe West in Keswick, England. He has questioned the British government's Brexit plans. Picture by Owen Humpheys, Press Association

THE British government's paper on Brexit and Ireland raises "serious concerns," Fianna Fáil has said.

The party's Brexit spokesman Stephen Donnelly said while the government had the "right aspirations" for the north, its actions "are working in the opposite direction".

He said the government wants barrier-free trade with the Republic and no new border, while also wanting to leave the single market and customs union.

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"It's positive to see the UK Government committing to achieving a workable border solution between Ireland and the UK, but the proposals seem unrealistic," he said.

"The papers prioritise seamless invisible borders, but a core rationale for Brexit was to stop the free movement of people from the EU into the UK. How can a seamless invisible border prevent this without the UK dropping its demand to end the free movement of EU citizens?"

He said the UK's position seemed to be "they want all of the benefits of EU membership without the obligations".

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the paper left "a lot of questions unanswered".

"Obviously in leaving the European Union it's going to be a problem and no one wants a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, we certainly don't and I hope there can now be negotiations to make sure there is a continuation of free movement between Northern Ireland and the Republic," he said.

"What we've committed to is tariff free trade to the European market and a close economic relationship, and at this stage of negotiations we can't rule anything in or out.

"We are quite clear there must be no hard border - there never has been a hard, physical border but there have been controls and no one wants to see a return to that, that will just damage the peace process."

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