Fianna Fáil TD for Louth and Spokesperson on Cross Border Co-Operation Declan Breathnach TD says the challenges facing border communities must be considered as part of the ongoing Brexit negotiations.
Deputy Breathnach made the comments after meeting with key members of European Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier’s team in Brussels.
Deputy Breathnach is in Brussels as part of a Fianna Fáil delegation which is meeting key stakeholders in advance of the publication of the draft Withdrawal Agreement due to be published on Wednesday.
Deputy Breathnach said, “This week represents one of the most important milestones in the Brexit negotiations to date. I have been working with the Fianna Fáil Brexit team to ensure the concerns of border communities such as Louth are taken on board and reflected in the draft Withdrawal Agreement.
“I met with key members of Michel Barnier’s negotiation team earlier today and made it perfectly clear that we simply cannot and must not see the emergence of a hard border on the island of Ireland. I highlighted how destructive such a situation would be to border communities. I also outlined the need to respect the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement and pointed out that we cannot take peace for granted.
“I also met with EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan and outlined the detrimental impact that Brexit is already having on the farming and agri-food industry, especially in border areas. I argued for supports to be put in place to assist farmers in getting through this challenging time and for the draft Withdrawal Agreement to address the serious issues facing the agri-food industry.
“The Fianna Fáil Brexit team will continue to fight Ireland’s corner and I will ensure that the serious issues facing border communities are not ignored.”