Dáil debates

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Ceisteanna ar Pholasaí nó ar Reachtaíocht - Questions on Policy or Legislation

 

12:50 pm

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)

I see I am being designated again. We need to work on the relationship between Britain and Ireland on these issues. The British and Irish Governments understand better than anybody else the complexities of politics in Northern Ireland in the context of what we have just seen in an election that was quite polarising on certain issues. We have a partner in the European Commission, and many other partners across European capitals, to help us do that. As I said earlier, I believe there is a landing zone that can be negotiated and agreed through partnership, where both parties agree to compromise and move towards middle-ground positions. The EU has been trying to do that now for well over a year, with new papers, new ideas, new concessions, more flexibility, extended grace periods and all the other things it has been trying to do to build partnership and trust with the British Government to try to resolve these problems.

Unfortunately, what we have seen, particularly over the last 48 hours, is a completely unnecessary ratcheting up of tension at a time when it is not needed or wanted, and a threat of unilateral action and legislation, which will be a breach of international law and will undermine trust. Instead of the European Union focusing on solutions and compromises, it will be forced into a reaction to a British unilateral breach of international law, which is the last thing we want.

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