Yesterday, we finally saw a proposal from the United Kingdom Government to amend the withdrawal treaty. Now that we have a written position, much of the speculation, bluff and bluster of recent weeks can be consigned for analysis of this position. The context of the position, however, leaves an awful lot of questions. There is a lack of detail and clarity. It is clear that there would be some element of customs checks on our island under whatever context results from this proposal. It is very difficult to see in the proposal where lies the respect and belief which the British Government has always stated with respect to the Good Friday Agreement. Some of the proposals would undermine and weaken the key provisions of the Good Friday Agreement.
Does this proposal protect the all-island economy? Does it guarantee that there would be no hard border? Does it protect the EU Single Market? These are the other three key principles, along with protecting the Good Friday Agreement, that need to be assessed and measured against this proposal. It is Fianna Fáil's view that the proposal fails on all four issues. Despite their vagueness, the direction of the proposals does not seem to be travelling towards protecting those four key principles. They provide for a customs border, a regulatory border and a change in the regime of Northern Ireland.
I understand that a process is getting under way with the EU to analyse those documents. Will the Tánaiste update the House on where that process is this morning? Engagements took place last night between the Taoiseach and Prime Minister Johnson and between the Taoiseach and President Juncker. Have any substantial issues arisen from those engagements that the House needs to know about?
I want to focus on one aspect of the proposal, namely, the position of the Stormont Assembly and the ongoing participation of Northern Ireland in the proposed so-called all-island regulatory body. The detail around that is very vague. What is the Tánaiste's understanding of those proposals? Having listened to the commentary this morning, is it the Government's understanding of the position that one of the political parties in Northern Ireland - it does not matter which one - would be able to veto ongoing participation, notwithstanding what the Assembly believes and the will of the people of Northern Ireland? As currently framed, does the proposal potentially give one party a veto? Is it acceptable to the Government that that would be the case? I want the Tánaiste in particular to give his understanding of and clarity on this key sequence.