Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Ceisteanna (76, 78)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

76. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will report on recent discussions with EU Commission officials regarding Brexit. [39453/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael Moynihan

Ceist:

78. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has spoken with European Commissioners recently in relation to Brexit. [45815/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 76 and 78 together.

My officials and I remain in close, ongoing contact with representatives of the EU institutions regarding Brexit, as well as other areas of importance to Ireland.

I participated in the meeting of the GAC in Article 50 format held on the morning of 15 October, during which Mr. Barnier briefed Ministers on the status of the then ongoing negotiations between the EU Taskforce and the UK Government. Prior to that I had met bilaterally with Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels on 8 October, to take stock of developments in negotiations.

We welcome that a deal has been reached between the EU and the UK on a revised Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration, which was subsequently endorsed unanimously by the European Council on 17 October.

Recognising the unique situation on the island of Ireland, the revised draft Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland provides important safeguards that the Good Friday Agreement will be protected in all its parts, including avoiding a hard border, protecting North South cooperation and the all island economy. It also protects the integrity of the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union and Ireland’s place in them. The agreement also provides a legally operable solution, providing certainty that at the end of the transition period, the benefits of the peace process and the all island economy can continue to be enjoyed.

We welcome that an extension has been agreed by the EU and UK Governments, extending the deadline to 31 January. This extension also facilitates an earlier departure should ratification by the UK and the European Parliament be completed at an earlier date.

We hope that the extra time provided by the extension will be used to ratify the Agreement, in order to ensure an orderly withdrawal of the UK.