Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald, T.D., yesterday met with Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Brokenshire, M.P., as part of a programme of meetings with senior Ministers in Dublin.
The discussions between the Tánaiste, whose responsibilities include the EU Single Market, trade policy, standards and consumer welfare, and the Secretary of State, come at an opportune time, as the UK moves to clarify its position in relation to a range of Brexit related issues with the publication of a series of position papers.
The Tánaiste and Mr Brokenshire also took the opportunity to discuss the prospects for progress in relation to the formation of a new Executive in Belfast and how best to support the parties in trying to reach an agreement.
Speaking after the meeting, the Tánaiste stated, “The recent position papers published by the UK Government on customs arrangements, Northern Ireland, and the availability of goods represent valuable contributions to the ongoing Brexit negotiation process. Of course, while these papers are directed at both the UK business and citizen, the proposals they contain will need careful consideration by the EU 27 and the Commission in developing any response in due course.”
She added, “It remains vital that we continue to make progress on the issues that have been identified by the EU for phase 1 of the negotiations, namely, citizens’ rights, the financial settlement and the Irish specific issues before we move on to discuss the important topic of the EU’s future relationship with the UK. I look forward to further constructive engagement between negotiating teams in the next round of Brexit talks which will take place later this week”.