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The News Line: News Ireland – ‘no desire’ to delay Brexit IRELAND’S deputy prime minister, Simon Coveney has said his country has ‘no desire’ to delay the UK’s Brexit talks.

While Ireland was not looking for ‘full detail’, it was seeking the parameters within which a solution could be found. His comments came ahead of a week of crucial decisions on whether the UK and EU would move ahead to the next phase of Brexit negotiations.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May is due to meet European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker today to assess whether sufficient progress has been made on three core issues of citizens’ rights, the ‘divorce bill’ and the future of the Irish border with Northern Ireland. The 27 other member states will then meet on Wednesday to make a decision on going to a second phase of talks. Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Coveney said Ireland did not want to exercise its veto on the issue.

‘There is no desire, I can tell you, in Ireland, to delay this process,’ he said. But at the same time, we have a responsibility as a government to represent the interests on the island of Ireland. We believe that, as an island, Ireland is uniquely vulnerable and exposed to a potential bad outcome from Brexit.
‘That is why we are looking for more progress than we have.’

He also denied suggestions, made by some UK politicians, that the issue was being used to pave the way for Irish unity. ‘That’s simply not true,’ he said, adding that the government had maintained a consistent position for months.

He said he was very keen to avoid ‘a green versus orange debate’ between unionism and nationalism. ‘Instead we’re trying to protect the status quo.’


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