Sinn Féin President and Louth TD Gerry Adams has expressedconcern at the warning from EU negotiator Michel Barnier that border checks are‘unavoidable’ as a result of the British government’s failure to agree progresson the transition arrangements following Brexit next March.

Teachta Adams said:

“The warning from Michel Barnier today that agreement on atransition arrangement is not a given, following several days of negotiationsbetween Britain and the EU and that border checks are unavoidable as a resultof the British government’s stance, is deeply worrying for the people of Louthand the border region.

“The EU Council is due to meet in March and, by that stage,it was expected that the British would have clarified what kind of relationshipthey wanted with the EU post-Brexit. Agreement was also to be achieved on thestructure and detail of the transition arrangements.

“It would appear from Mr Barnier’s comments this morningthat no agreement has been reached on either of these matters. Mr. Barnierpointed out that ‘time is short, very short, and we haven’t a minute tolose if we want to succeed’.

“It is also reported that Britain has been told that the EUdraft withdrawal agreement will stipulate that the North will in effectremain in the single market and customs in order to avoid a hard border.

“The Irish government must urgently seek clarification from theEU negotiating team on the current state of play with the British.Specifically, we need to know if the legal language of the draft agreement willsupport the North remaining within the single market and customs union; if theIrish government will support that position; and will it refuse to accept, aswas agreed in December, that there will be no hard border?

“The Irish government must also demand that theBritish government spell out what measures it plans to put in place to ensurethat full regulatory alignment is put in place.” 


Sinn Féin