Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith has welcomed the agreement reached by the EU27 this weekend, but is warning that this is only the beginning of a long road of negotiations.  The deal has enshrined the Good Friday Agreement and makes provisions for Northern Ireland to be re-admitted to the EU in the event of reunification.

Deputy Smith commented, “This weekend’s agreement recognised the unique importance of the Irish situation and I am pleased that the EU27 has enshrined its obligations under the Good Friday Agreement in the document.  This is something my party and our partners in Europe, Alde, have been particularly vocal on.  Upholding the Good Friday Agreement, which is an international treaty, should not be heralded as a coup, but regarded as a given.

“Brexit is one of the greatest challenges that Ireland has ever faced and we need a strong negotiating team to ensure that our interests are protected.  This is particularly important in the border area, where the repercussions of Britain’s decision to leave the EU are already being felt.  Decisions on the border and trade will have serious implications for this area.

“Britain has traditionally been our largest trading partner, with approx. €1.2bn in goods and services going between the two countries every week.  Hundreds of thousands of jobs are linked to businesses and industries across all sectors and every effort must be made to protect them.  The Government must provide support now to Irish businesses to insulate them from the instability caused by Brexit.

“This weekend’s guidelines lay out a map for the months and years ahead and the real work begins now.  Minister Flanagan along with his Cabinet colleagues must effectively communicate our priorities to ensure that we are protected and supported and that any negative fallout is minimised”.