Fianna Fáil TD for Louth Declan Breathnach says he has serious concerns following the publication of two UK Brexit position papers, on Future Customs Arrangements and on Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Deputy Breathnach said, “Many of the proposals contained in this document are highly aspirational but are ultimately unworkable as the British Government is continuing to stick my its demand that the freedom of movement of EU citizens must end in May 2019. The British Government has committed to providing an ‘invisible border’, but it knows too well that this is impossible to deliver on so long as it sticks by its demands to end the freedom of movement of EU citizens.

“Prime Minister Theresa May and her colleagues need to get real here. The EU 27 Member States have been left waiting for months on end for the publication of these documents. The negotiations have been held up during this time, and now following their publication it remains unclear just what exactly the British Government wants to achieve with Brexit. The whole process from the British Government side seems confused and uncertain. It’s an unholy mess which will have a serious impact on border communities unless they get their act together.

“The British Government needs to face up to its obligation on EU citizens’ rights and equality. There can be no workable invisible border unless the British Government accepts that it has to respect the freedom of movement of EU citizens. The British Government also needs to not only commit to upholding the Good Friday Agreement, but also acting to ensure its integrity is maintained in the years ahead. We can’t just have empty rhetoric on this issue.

“The fact that Theresa May is yet to visit border communities is deeply disappointed. These areas will be hit the hardest by Brexit, yet the British Government have clearly placed these communities at the bottom of the ladder when it comes to prioritising the response to their departure from the EU. We need an urgent change of attitude by the British Government when it comes to looking after border communities,” concluded Deputy Breathnach.