Brexit

Sinn Féin: 'Ball is now in Mrs May's court' over Brexit border

A Sinn Féin team met the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels yesterday. Picture by Sinn Féin/Twitter

SINN Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has said the "ball is now in Mrs May's court" amid the ongoing row over a post-Brexit border.

Mrs McDonald was speaking after a party delegation including vice-president Michelle O'Neill met the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels.

British prime minister Theresa May has rejected Brussels proposals that would see Northern Ireland kept in an effective customs union with the EU if other ways to avoid a hard border cannot be found.

"The ball is now in Mrs May's court, the ball is now in the court of the British, who say they don't like what they have seen, they don't like the solution advanced by Europe, if they don't like that we would like to know what is their solution," Mrs McDonald said.

"It is clear that the British government can no longer hide behind rhetoric or vague aspirations.

"What is required is clarity and legal certainty for our people, our businesses, and our agreements and that is what has been absent from the British government."

Mrs McDonald said Mr Barnier understood the importance of resolving the border problem.

"I am happy to say we have a shared understanding that there cannot be a withdrawal agreement, much less an agreement on any future relationship between Britain and the European Union, in the absence of an answer to the Irish question," she said.

Mr Barnier, who is due to meet DUP leader Arlene Foster and deputy leader Nigel Dodds in Brussels today, said his discussions with Sinn Féin had been positive.

He tweeted: "Essential to listen to all voices in Northern Ireland."

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