Brexit

Brexit: Simon Coveney says border poll calls 'unhelpful'

Tánaiste Simon Coveney

CALLS for a border poll while Brexit negotiations continue are "unhelpful", tánaiste Simon Coveney has said.

The foreign affairs minister said they were "an unnecessary distraction" and risked fuelling polarisation in Northern Ireland.

Mr Coveney was speaking at a seminar organised by southern senior civil servants about the UK leaving the European Union.

While he acknowledged people had the right to nationalist or unionist aspirations, the tánaiste urged all sides to "focus on the task at hand".

He said all focus should be on overcoming the challenges posed by Brexit, and not seeing it as an opportunity to promote other aspirations or fuel fears.

Mr Coveney stressed the importance of the political system and Ireland's civil service working together, and praised the work of the UK civil service in the ongoing negotiations.

He said the British civil service was arguably the best in the world, but it needed political direction to make more progress on complex Brexit-related issues.

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