Brexit: Time to 'intensify efforts', Irish PM says


Yesterday, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said Ireland would come first in negotiations, as he told a joint sitting of the Dáil and Seanad that Ireland's border was Europe's border and it remained a priority. "We need more answers and fewer new questions".

"Sunday's meeting isn't a mini-summit but an informal working meeting", Juncker said in a press conference with French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.

The pair held a short meeting along with their delegations, including Clara Martinez-Alberola, head of Mr Juncker's cabinet, Gerard Kiely, head of the European Commission Representation in Ireland, legal adviser Michael Shotter and financial adviser Paulina Dejmek-Hack.

The border between Northern Ireland and Ireland that will be Britain's only land frontier with the European Union after Brexit is proving the thorniest issue in Brexit talks and European Union leaders will express concern on Friday over the lack of progress.

Mr Juncker will meet Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, receive an honorary doctorate from the National University of Ireland and attend an official dinner hosted by Mr Varadkar in Dublin Castle.

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The Commission President did not try his luck at either Gaelic football or hurling, preferring to leave it to athletes who demonstrated the sport.

Earlier this year, Mrs May rejected the EU's own proposed backstop solution to the Irish border issue.

"Whatever the inevitable political noise as we unpick the complexities of our membership of the European Union, I will ensure that we maintain the depth of our ongoing engagement with the Scottish Government, including this week at the British-Irish Council in Guernsey".

"The UK gave the European Union back in December a guarantee there'd be no hard border on the island of Ireland".

"The most important aspect of the withdrawal agreement for us is the backstop, and Prime Minister May committed in March that there would be a backstop and outlined in December what that backstop would contain".

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The Government says it wants agreement on all the withdrawal issues by the time of the October EU summit, however there are severe doubts that that can be achieved.

"In our meeting we were in full agreement that there is now an urgent need to intensify our efforts if we are to get there".

"The European Council renews its calls upon member states and all stakeholders to step up their work on preparedness at all levels and for all outcomes, ' the statement said".

She added: "It has been two years since the United Kingdom embarked upon the road to Brexit and it has failed completely to bring any workable solutions to the table". Now we're seeing the consequences of kicking every tough decision into the long grass. In May, the prime minister wrote to the European Union to say there'd be a backstop.

"That means businesses up and down the country will be left in the lurch right up until the last minute, while those in Ireland wait to find out whether this government wants to safeguard their fragile peace settlement".

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