Home / UK / Brexit: Simon Coveney rules out bilateral no-deal talks with the UK – BBC News

Brexit: Simon Coveney rules out bilateral no-deal talks with the UK – BBC News

Simon Coveney

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Reuters

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Simon Coveney said trade was a matter for the EU and the Irish government cannot come to a separate arrangement with the UK

Ireland will not be entering into bilateral negotiations with the UK regarding no-deal Brexit planning, Tánaiste (deputy Irish prime minister) Simon Coveney has said.

Mr Coveney said trade policy was a matter for the European Union.

He said the Irish government cannot come to a separate arrangement with the UK.

The Tánaiste also said it was realistic to expect a return of power-sharing before the 31 October Brexit deadline.

Mr Coveney met Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith on Tuesday about Brexit and the lack of government in Northern Ireland since January 2017.

The Tánaiste told Irish broadcaster RTÉ it was important that he developed a good personal relationship with Mr Smith that is based on trust.

He added that commentary about the events in Northern Ireland over the past two weeks had become “divisive and difficult”.

Mr Coveney said it was not the case that the Irish government was refusing to talk to the UK, but said he would not be facilitating the UK in walking away from commitments in the withdrawal agreement.

“We are not in the business of facilitating the UK moving away from commitments that they’ve made to Ireland and the EU to protect the Good Friday Agreement, to protect an all-island economy, which is a commitment that they have made, and to replace that with some sort of makeshift deal in the weeks before a no-deal,” he said.

“Instead what we have been doing for over a year now, is we have been planning for contingency in the context of a no-deal Brexit should that happen.”

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Reuters

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Simon Coveney had a meeting with Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith (pictured) on Tuesday

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin later, where he is expected to reiterate his call for the Irish border backstop plan to be scrapped.

Mr Johnson has said the arrangement to avoid a hard border after Brexit is “anti-democratic” and must be removed to secure a deal.

But the EU has rejected the possibility of any changes to the backstop.

Mr Coveney said the government will not abandon its approach for “some kind of promise on the basis of trust”.

“We are not in the business of being steam-rolled at the end of this because a British prime minister has rolled out new red lines,” he said.

Brexit: Simon Coveney rules out bilateral no-deal talks with the UK – BBC News

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