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Brexit will begin in January or February, says Enda Kenny

The Taoiseach said he expects an early 2017 date for Article 50 to be invoked, after discussions with British ministers.

Prime Minister Theresa May and Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny at 10 Downing Street, London, in July.
Prime Minister Theresa May and Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny at 10 Downing Street, London, in July.
Image: PA Wire

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY says he believes the British prime minister will begin the process of Brexit at the end of January by invoking article 50.

Speaking today at Government Buildings, Enda Kenny said there were already informal negotiations about Brexit between London and the remaining EU countries.

“I expect that the British prime minister will move the Article 50, probably – probably – in January or February, the end of January or February,” he said.

Those are the indications I got from my discussions with Secretary of State [David] Davis and James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

“I do think the UK personnel are going to have to delve down deeply into all the issues that are going to emerge.”

He added: “It is right and proper that a new prime minister has time to consider all the issues before moving on it, but that doesn’t drag on too long. But the law is quite clear here – it is strictly a matter for the British prime minister to move on Article 50.

“The impression I get, is some time at the end of January or in February, and that has been referred to me by members of the British government themselves.”

The UK link

He added: “It’s absolutely necessary that we explain to people just what our position is in maintaining the link with the UK, but also speaking as a member of the European Union.

“There are a myriad of complications and issues to deal with.

“It is important to keep strong connection and communication with the public servants in Great Britain who are going to be doing the detail of this, but also in regard with what it is Europe intends to do.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan, who left hospital after a week recuperating from cellulitis, is due to travel to London tomorrow to meet British chancellor Philip Hammond, he added.

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The Taoiseach said he had received assurances from Minister Noonan that his doctors had said he was fit to continue working in the State’s second most powerful political position.

“In respect of Michael Noonan, yesterday he rang me and informed me of the operation he was having on his face, the way they are dealing with that is to load him with antibiotics and have those intravenously, because of the extent of what’s required.

Any time he has had any problem, he has assured me of his fitness, and doctors have confirmed he is ready to go back to work.

“And he’s told me that if that wasn’t the position, he would inform me, and I trust him completely.”

Read: Michael Noonan WILL appear before the Public Accounts Committee to answer questions over Nama

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