Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Brexit Stephen Donnelly TD has welcomed the publication of the European Commission Brexit position paper on Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Deputy Donnelly said, “The contents of this document are encouraging as the EU Commission clearly recognises the scale of the challenge facing Ireland and Northern Ireland post-Brexit. Much of the commentary to date has specifically focused on the customs challenge, but the EU Commission has clearly set out that the negotiations must also take into account the specific political, economic, security, societal and agricultural issues facing Ireland and Northern Ireland.

“In particular the emphasis on the need for the UK negotiation team to produce far more detail is a welcome development, albeit an unsurprising one. The UK negotiation team needs to be much more upfront about its proposals for dealing with the challenges facing Northern Ireland. The emphasis needs to be all encompassing and the negotiations cannot just solely centre on the customs challenge.

“The fact that the EU Commission has raised the prospect of a unique deal for Northern Ireland is a very welcome development. Fianna Fáil has already called for special consideration to be given to the situation in Northern Ireland and I have already discussed this matter with Mr Barnier.

“It’s imperative that the Irish Government and its negotiation team remains in close and ongoing deliberations with our UK counterparts on all Brexit issues pertaining to Ireland and Northern Ireland. It’s also important that the Government ensures that Ireland is ready domestically to deal with the challenges that are set to arise post-Brexit.

“The progress of the negotiations to date has been positive for Ireland and it’s important that the momentum is maintained in the months ahead.”