Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on European Affairs Seán Haughey TD, responding to Prime Minister May’s comments about the UK and Ireland being on the same page said, “It’s quite worrying that Prime Minister May actually believes that both her government and the Irish government are on the same page on how Brexit is being dealt with, particularly when she confirmed on Tuesday that the UK may yet leave the Customs Union.  This will automatically mean that borders will be back in Ireland, not to mention all the extra costs it will add to doing business on this island and between Ireland and the UK.

“While our relationship with the UK is a very mutually beneficial one in numerous ways, the Taoiseach needs to put Ireland’s interests first and focus on securing the best deal for Ireland and the best deal for Europe. Ultimately, our future is in Europe and we need to ensure that going forward the other 26 member states are fully aware that this is where our future lies.

“Furthermore, whilst it is welcome that Prime Minister May stated that maintaining the Common Travel Area and avoiding a return to a hard border was one of her objectives in the upcoming negotiations, it is important that Ireland does its own bidding in that regard. The Taoiseach needs to step up his engagement with other member states, particularly smaller states, and ensure that they are fully aware and briefed of the Irish position and the need for particular measures for Northern Ireland.

“It’s only a matter of weeks before Article 50 will be triggered and all states will have their own specific concerns, but Ireland stands to be affected by Brexit more so than any other member state, and so over the next few weeks there needs to be a sustained and concerted effort by the Taoiseach and the Government to engage with other states and to seek assurances that the special circumstances of Ireland will be reflected in the final agreement”.