Dec. 8, 2017, 7:49 a.m.
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tánaiste minister foreign affairs brexit rté’s morning ireland simon coveney

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Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Simon Coveney said it is good news for anyone, whether you are nationalist or unionist, and living on border communities.
He said that they know now what the default position is and in absence of agreed solutions in Phase 2 there is a "fallback position".
Mr Coveney said that "what is being said is there is commitment in the absence of agreed solutions - in other words if there is no deal on a bigger deal that solves all these issues, well then there is commitment to maintain full alignment with the rules of the internal market and customs union.
"In other words that would be an arrangement accepted by the UK and the EU in this wording that will prevent any need for border checks, which is exactly what we are looking for.
"The default position is that the island of Ireland will maintain full alignment with Northern Ireland. There will be in no circumstances a need to introduce border checks on the border of Ireland."

'There is no scenario now in the context of Brexit that will result in a hard border' @simoncoveney
Mr Coveney said the language that has changed between the deal that was almost agreed on Monday is an extra paragraph which gives reassurances to businesses.
"We have no issue with that paragraph at all. It is saying that while there is full protection for full trade on the island of Ireland, the British government is also saying they will ensure there are no barriers to trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom."
He said this deal is not just about the DUP, though they have made a strong case this week.
He said the Irish Government could not have moved on to Phase 2 without an assurance of a hard border.
"We have always accepted is that the British government wants to negotiate a very comprehensive trade deal in Phase 2 and that may be possible.
"What we have always asked is the reassurance is if that new deal doesn't deal with specific important Irish issues, we need and assurance that Ireland is protected," he said.