Britain to present Ireland with soft border guarantee
THE British government is today expected to present Ireland with a written ‘guarantee’ on a soft border, on one of the most significant days in Anglo-Irish relations in decades.
The EU has given Ireland a veto on whether the UK can progress to phase two of the Brexit talks.
Unless the Irish government is satisfied with the guarantee on the border the other EU nations will refuse to proceed.
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker is to meet British prime minister Theresa May at lunch time to discuss the proposal but the real decision maker will be Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, pictured.
It is understood intense negotiations continued yesterday about the border, with the Irish cabinet expected to hold a special sitting this morning. It came on a day of significant developments:
- Sinn Féin said the Good Friday Agreement faces its most “serious threat in the history of the peace process”.
- DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds said the Irish government has become more aggressive under Varadkar and Tánaiste Simon Coveney.
- Mr Coveney said Ireland does not wish to delay negotiations and Mr Varadkar said he understands unionist concerns.
- Hardline Brexiteers wrote to Mrs May calling for a final deal with the EU before paying the £55 billion exit fee.
- Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern was reported as saying Mrs May is “totally out of her depth” while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is “bonkers”.
- Former prime minister Tony Blair said Brexit is a danger to the peace process.
- A Mail on Sunday poll found most voters want a second referendum and only 16 per cent think the UK has done better than the EU in the first phase of negotiations.