Updated: 28/04/17 : 06:59:42
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EU 'Brexit' meeting tomorrow vital for border counties

As the Government seeks to have a special text agreed at tomorrow's extraordinary European Union summit on Brexit a Sligo Fine Gael TD has said that that "the draft conclusions of the EU summit contain a unique set of assurances for Ireland. These assurances are of the upmost importance for border counties such as Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan and Donegal who will most likely face the biggest challenges from Brexit."

Tony McLoughlin TD, a member of the Fine Gael Brexit Response Working Group continued, "We have secured the support of the EU for the Belfast Agreement and the continuation of the funding arrangements that underpin it.

"We have ensured that Ireland’s unique geographical position has been recognised, with an acceptance that Brexit has implications for the transit of goods on the island, and we have ensured that there is a specific reference in the draft conclusions to the importance of the trading relationship between Ireland and the UK, which takes into account not only cross -Border trade but the fact that so much of Irish trade with the EU transits through the UK. This is vital for the constituency I was elected to represent.

"These draft measures have been accepted following the most sustained diplomatic campaign by an Irish Government since Ireland joined the EU over 40 years ago.

"It has been widely accepted, despite what the opposition parties in Ireland will try and lead you to believe, that the respect in which Taoiseach Enda Kenny is held by the other members of the European Council, including Angela Merkel, has played a decisive part in ensuring that Ireland was given absolutely everything it sought in the diplomatic campaign,” the Government Assistant Chief Whip added.

The text for tomorrow's crucial meeting would state that the Good Friday Agreement contains a specific mechanism for a united Ireland, and that it if it were to come about, the new entity would legally be a member of the EU.

The move by the Government is highly sensitive, given the tensions surrounding Brexit and the issue of a future border poll in Northern Ireland.

The Government is determined that all of the elements of the Good Friday Agreement are enshrined in the Brexit negotiation process and understood by the other 26 member states and the EU institutions.
One of the most critical of those elements is the mechanism providing for a united Ireland if a majority of people in Northern Ireland consent and that then Northern Ireland would automatically re-join the EU.