Aug. 16, 2017, 1:03 p.m.
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Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said Ireland will be “stubborn” in Brexit negotiations when defending Irish interests.
Speaking in Iveagh House this afternoon, he welcomed the UK’s publication of position papers with “new language” from Britain about a customs union partnership.
The UK has explicitly ruled out any Brexit deal that would involve a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK in a key position paper on its exit from the European Union.
In doing so, the UK’s negotiating paper, published on Wednesday, again makes clear that the United Kingdom is not prepared to explore the possibility of treating Northern Ireland as a separate entity or for it to remain part of the customs union as some politicians North and South have urged.
“We will be realistic and fair but we will also be stubborn in relation to defending Ireland’s interests,” Mr Coveney said.
“Certainly we are not going to be used as a pawn here in any bigger negotiations,” he added.
Mr Coveney dismissed some of British customs proposals as “totally unworkable” but welcomed the commitment to upholding the Belfast Agreement, the Common Travel Area and other elements of the papers.
On Wednesday the European Commission said how to maintain the Common Travel Area and protect the Belfast Agreement must be discussed “before looking at technical solutions”.