Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Brexit, Stephen Donnelly has said that today’s Brexit Treaty deal which includes a Hard Border backstop is a worrying retrograde step on the North and a potential hard border.

“There were three layers of protection in the December agreement between the EU and the UK. Two of these layers now seem unlikely, meaning that ensuring no hard border on our island comes down to the backstop.

“The British Prime Minister, Theresa May has previously described the EU’s understanding of the backstop as a constitutional threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom.

“While Fianna Fáil disagrees with this assessment, it highlights in very clear and stark terms the gulf in understanding between the British Government and the EU as to what a backstop actually means.

“In one year and 10 days, the United Kingdom will leave the European Union, and Ireland will have the only major land frontier between the Union and Britain.

“Looking at the deal reached today, it looks like a fudge on Northern Ireland to enable talks to move onto areas such as trade.

“I am worried that attempts are being made by the British negotiators to nominally agree to certain provisions on the border in the hope of moving onto trade negotiations which are their main concern as far as I can see.

“The idea of a hard border is deeply worrying and concerning to the people of Ireland, north and south. A backstop to avoid it ever being implemented on our island needs absolute certainty and support from both sides.

“The old adage that ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’ has never been so true. Based on the response before Christmas from the DUP and the Tory Hard Brexiteers, I am wary of any agreement that relies exclusively on a hard border backstop provision,” concluded Donnelly.